// Two recruiting specialists appointed to the board of Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group
// Jamie Drummond-Smith and Peter Bloxham hired as the retail giant prepares restructuring scheme
// Speculation is rife that Arcadia could pursue a CVA
Two restructuring specialists have been appointed to the board of Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group amid increasing speculation that the firm is poised to launch a CVA.
According to BBC News, Jamie Drummond-Smith has been made chair of Topshop, Topman, Arcadia Group and its parent company Taveta, while Peter Bloxham is joining the board as a director.
Drummond-Smith is currently the chair of finance group Cattles, where he was previously chief restructuring officer.
Meanwhile, Bloxham is a former head of restructuring and insolvency at law firm Freshfields.
The news comes as Arcadia – which has been struggling with dwindling sales, an extensive and unprofitable property portfolio, as well as controversy surrounding sexual harassment and bullying allegations against Green – prepares to restructuring scheme.
There is growing speculation that the scheme could be launched sometime this month and possibly in the form of a CVA, which could entail dozens of store closures and hundreds of job cuts.
Arcadia has already reportedly drawn up a list of stores it wants to close down across the UK and Ireland, as it continues to work with advisers on a review of the business.
However, a CVA would need approval from Arcadia’s creditors – including landlords and the Pension Protection Fund.
Last week it was revealed that Arcadia was mulling the idea of offering shares of up to 20 per cent to landlords in a bid to gain their support for the restructuring plans.
Green’s company also proposed to halve the annual contributions it makes to its pensions scheme, from the £50 million down to £25 million.
The proposal could plunge Green into a fresh pensions row, two years after he was forced to plug up to £363 million to the pension scheme of thousands of former BHS workers following months of discussions and controversy.
Moreover, Arcadia – which operates Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge, Evans, Wallis, Burton and Dorothy Perkins – is reportedly eyeing up potential store closures in its US, Australian, German and Dutch markets.
Arcadia has 1170 shops in 36 countries outside the UK, many of which are department store concessions or franchises.
Just this week, US private equity firm Leonard Green and Partnerss sold its 25 per cent stake in Topshop & Topman back to Arcadia for an undisclosed sum.
The firm had originally bought its stake for £350 million in 2012.