Arcadia chairman Jamie Drummond Smith resigns

Sir Philip Green has lost another key employee from his retail empire as it has emerged that the chairman of Arcadia stepped down on the same day as the group's chief operating officer.
Arcadia said Jamie Drummond Smith's decision to step down was "expected".
// Arcadia’s interim chairman Jamie Drummond Smith resigned after approval of CVA
// His resignation was on the same day as chief operating officer David Shepherd

News has emerged that the chairman of Arcadia stepped down on the same day as the firm’s chief operating officer, serving another blow for Sir Philip Green and his retail empire.

According to a filing at Companies House today, interim chairman Jamie Drummond Smith – a restructuring expert – resigned last Friday.

This comes after it was revealed earlier this week Arcadia chief operating officer David Shepherd – one of Green’s key lieutenants – also stepped down on August 30 after more than 25 years with the company.

Drummond Smith was hired on an interim basis in April as Arcadia prepared to embark on an overhaul to shut underperforming stores and cut rents.

The parent company of Topshop and Dorothy Perkins said his decision to step down was “expected”, given the recent approval of its CVA restructuring deal.

However, the high-profile departures come amid speculation over the future of Arcadia.

It was reported in The Sunday Times that chief executive Ian Grabiner was heading up the groundwork for a break-up of Arcadia’s stable of retail chains, which also includes Wallis, Burton, Evans and Miss Selfridge.

An Arcadia spokesman said the company was looking for permanent chairman to replace Drummond Smith.

“Jamie was appointed on an interim basis to assist the board through the restructuring options for the group,” Grabiner said.

“Following the successful completion and approval of the group’s CVAs, Jamie has stepped down from his role.”

Drummond Smith – a former partner at accountancy giant Deloitte – was hired earlier this year alongside fellow restructuring expert Peter Bloxham.

Bloxham was also appointed on an interim basis as a non-executive director, but will remain to support the board as it searches for a new chairman.

There has been a steady stream of senior management losses at Arcadia in recent months.

Earlier this year, businesswoman and TV star Baroness Karren Brady resigned as chairwoman of Taveta Investments, the holding company of Arcadia, and non-executive director Sharon Brown also left at the same time.

Their resignations came about when Green was plagued in controversy over allegations of sexual harassment and bullying.

Meanwhile, Arcadia’s CVAs will see mass store closures, rent bills slashed, as well as job cuts.

This will comprise of 23 store closures in the UK, putting around 1000 jobs at risk.

Another 25 Miss Selfridge and Evans stores are also in the process of being shut while landlords of some remaining shops will be paid a reduced rent bill.

It has also closed 11 Topshop and Topman locations in the US.

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