Fenwick chair & CEO both step down

Fenwick chair & CEO both step down
Richard Pennycook was the first Fenwick chair from outside the family.
// Fenwick chair Richard Pennycook & CEO Robbie Feather both stepping down
// Changes come as the Fenwick family come closer to running the business
// John Edgar, a former Harrods & Selfridges exec, is the new CEO; Steve Barber is interim chair

Fenwick has undergone a boardroom shake up that has led to both the chairman and chief executive resigning from the department store retailer.

Chief executive Robbie Feather and non-executive chairman Richard Pennycock have stepped down from the board, in a move that was devised to bring the Fenwick family firm “closer to the running of the business”.

Andy Doyle, non-executive chair of Fenwick’s remuneration committee, will also step down from the board.


Fenwick said it wanted to “slim down the board”, and insisted that given the current climate the shake-up was “the right decision now and for the longer term”.

Pennycook, who was the retailer’s first chair from outside the Fenwick family when he stepped into the role in February 2017, has been replaced by non-executive director Steve Barber on an interim basis.

Feather, who was also first person from outside the family to be named Fenwick chief executive in January 2018, will be replaced by John Edga, a former Selfridges and Harrods finance chief.

Mark Fenwick, the fifth generation of the family department store chain, had been executive chairman for four years and a board director since the 1990s before making way for Pennycook and Feather to step in and transform the business.

While the changes take effect from today, Fenwick said there would be a one-month handover period to “ensure a smooth transition”.

“We would like to thank Richard for his guidance during his time as chairman, and to thank Robbie for all his leadership and dedication in driving the most ambitious transformation in Fenwick’s history. We much appreciate Andy’s contribution to the board also,” a Fenwick spokeswoman said.

“This is an unprecedented time for the retail sector, and we are pleased to welcome John Edgar as Fenwick’s new chief executive.

“We look forward to working closely with John and the whole team to help guide Fenwick through this incredibly challenging time.”

Both Pennycook and Feather have been credited for driving Fenwick’s multichannel strategy, launching its own transactional ecommerce platform in April last year, and investing in new IT systems.

Other changes include centralising a number of Fenwick’s functions such as buying and HR, launching its own brand ranges within its food hall, and creating new drinking and dining areas.

Fenwick currently trades from nine stores across the UK.

Sales are understood to have plunged in recent weeks thanks to the coronavirus outbreak, and its full store estate and online operations have temporarily closed to safeguard customers and staff from the pandemic.

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