Monday, January 20, 2020

House of Fraser boss quits amid internal “meltdown”


An internal row has led to the resignation of House of Fraser‘s chief executive Nigel Oddy.

Oddy is understood to have handed in his notice at the department store giant after two years in the role, according to The Sunday Times.

In 2014 the 167 year old company was bought by Chinese firm Sanpower, owned by Yuan Yafei. Upon purchasing the company Yuan agreed to inject £75 million into the struggling company.

Sanpower has yet to make good on its financial promise, fueling an internal row which has seen a torrent of departures including Oddy‘s predecessor John King, finance director Mark Gifford and chief customer officer Andy Harding.

With the news of Oddy‘s departure, more are thought to be separating from the company, leading a source to refer to it as “just a meltdown”.

READ MORE: House of Fraser struggles during “uncertain” economic period

The stream of departures and growing discontent with Yuan and his right hand man, ex-HSBC banker Frank Slevin has caused doubts over the future of the retailer, whose stocks and Christmas trading are already suffering.

Having joined from Marks and Spencer in 2007, later to take the role as CEO, Oddy is expected to leave in the spring of 2017.

House of Fraser, which employs 17,500 staff in 60 shops, is 89 per cent owned by Sanpower. Mike Ashley of Sports Direct holds the remaining shares.

The finances of Yuan and Sanpower have been thrown into doubt since the acquisition of the department store. His reluctance to pay the promised £75 million in the face of such financial and internal turmoil has caused investors to doubt claims he is a billionaire.

Yuan attempted to purchase Hamley‘s, but House of Fraser lenders were reportedly not happy with the purchase.

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