// Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group appoints former boss of De Vere hotel group, Andrew Coppel, as new chairman
// He will assume the chairmanships of Arcadia, Topshop Topman Ltd, and Taveta Investments
// Coppel replaces interim Arcadia chairman Jamie Drummond Smith, and former Taveta chairwoman Baroness Karren Brady
Arcadia Group has appointed the former boss of the De Vere hotel group, Andrew Coppel, as its new chairman as the company pushes on with its turnaround efforts.
Coppel will assume the chairmanships of Arcadia, Topshop Topman Ltd, and their parent company Taveta Investments – all of which are owned by Sir Philip Green.
His appointment means he will replace Arcadia chairman Jamie Drummond Smith, who resigned in September after being hired on an interim basis earlier in the year.
It’s also likely his position replaces that of Baroness Karren Brady, the former non-executive chairwoman of Taveta who resigned late last year shortly after Green was embroiled in a #MeToo scandal for the City.
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Coppel’s appointment also comes as Green steps up efforts to bring Arcadia back to profitability through a turnaround strategy that includes a major CVA scheme.
Other recent senior appointments done as part of the turnaround strategy include new chief digital officer Rafaele Petruzzo, chief information officer Karl De Bruijn, digital and retail technology director Simon Pakenham-Walsh, and Gillian Ridley Whittle as the new Topshop fashion director.
Prior to his stint at De Vere Group chief executive, which he held from 2010 until 2015, Coppel was also Queens Moat Houses boss for 10 years and has held board roles at the Jockey Club and with Duncan Bannatyne’s leisure group
He is currently chairman of Dolphin Capital Investors, a real estate developer focusing on the residential resort sector in emerging markets, a non-executive director of house building firm M J Gleeson, and chair of the Trustees of Shooting Star Children’s Hospices.
At Green’s retail empire, Coppel will be responsible for each boards’ effectiveness and corporate governance as well as supporting the executive team with the delivery of their turnaround strategy.
In addition, Coppel will play a lead role in communicating with the group’s key stakeholders, including pension trustees, lenders and colleagues.
“I am pleased to welcome Andrew to the group,” Arcadia chief executive Ian Grabiner said.
“He has a wealth of relevant experience and I look forward to working with him as we continue to implement our growth strategy.
“Since we completed our restructuring process over the summer, we have been making good progress with our plans, focusing investment on delivering better customer experiences, improving our digital offer and extending our wholesale partnerships.
“Despite the ongoing headwinds for UK retailers, I am confident this progress will continue.”
Coppel said: “I am delighted to have been appointed as chairman of the three principal Arcadia Group companies.
“Whilst the group is not immune to the challenges affecting the UK retail sector, it owns several outstanding high street brands.
“Following the approval of the CVA, the group has a stable platform from which to move forward.
“We have 18,000 very capable and loyal employees servicing our brands located in our 2400 stores, concessions and franchises globally and through our wholesale partners, including Next, Asos, Zalando and Nordstrom in the US.
“Despite the macro factors currently impacting retailing in the UK, I am confident that we can make good progress in the interests of all our stakeholders.”
Earlier this year, Arcadia – which owns Topshop, Topman, Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, Wallis and Evans – revealed plans this year it would take out not just one, but seven CVAs.
These were eventually approved by 75 per cent of creditors in June.
The CVAs entail around 48 store closures in the UK and Ireland and rent reductions on 194 other stores, 11 Topshop store closures in the US, and more than 500 job cuts to help bring Arcadia back to profitability.
Meanwhile in accounts for the financial year ending September 1, 2018 – filed at Companies House in September – laid bare the financial turmoil that has been plaguing Arcadia.
The retail empire swung to an operating loss of £137.5 million for the period, a stark contrast to the £119.3 million operating profit recorded in 2017.
It also booked a full-year pre-tax loss of £93.4 million, compared to a pre-tax profit of £164.5 million the year prior.
Meanwhile, EBITDA plunged 40 per cent year-on-year, dropping from £137 million in 2017 to £76 million in the latest full-year results.
The retail giant also saw turnover drop by 4.5 per cent year-on-year to £1.8 billion, which it attributed to “the ongoing challenge global market conditions for retailers”.
Arcadia said it had been impacted by reduced profitability from its bricks-and-mortar stores, and that it was not possible to reduce store costs when in-store sales were declining simultaneously.