Matalan announces new chair and chief commercial officer

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Matalan announces new chairman and CFO
Steve Johnson will start as Matalan's new chairperson on July 1.
// Steve Johnson named new chairperson of Matalan, replacing John Mills
// Matalan also appoints James Brown as its new chief commercial officer

Matalan has announced the appointment of a new chairperson and a new chief commercial officer, less than a month after John Mills said he would be stepping down from the board.

Steve Johnson is set to replace Mills as the value retailer’s new chairperson, while James Brown will be stepping into the brand new board-level role of chief commercial officer.

Matalan said Johnson was selected after a “thorough” recruitment process, and will begin on July 1 and will work alongside Mills during a transition phase.


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Johnson’s executive experience includes a stint furniture retailer Dreams, and he is currently non-executive director at DFS as well as Russian retail giant Lenta.

“John [Mills] has successfully led the board through the Covid-19 crisis, navigating multiple and unprecedented challenges whilst the company has continued to trade and adapt to new ways of working,” Matalan chief executive Jason Hargreaves said.

“I would like to personally thank John for all his support. Over the last 14 years with Matalan his commitment and loyalty has been outstanding along with his advice on many levels.

“Steve [Johnson] brings strong leadership and a relevant skill-set from his experiences of executive and non-executive positions.

“This includes strategy, transformation and the subsequent growth of several UK and international retailers such as Dreams, Focus DIY, currently non exec director of DFS and Lenta Ltd, one of Russia’s largest retail chains.”

Meanwhile, Brown will join Matalan on August 18, and his remit will focus on the retailer’s customer and product proposition and end-to-end trading strategy.

Brown previously held director-level roles within Shop Direct and Sainsbury’s, most recently as commercial director of genreral merchandising and clothing at Sainsbury’s, where he led on the multichannel commercial strategy.

He was also previously ladieswear merchandising controller at Matalan from 2002 to 2006.

“James Brown will be an excellent addition to the Matalan team, and he brings with him a wealth of experience to the new role of chief commercial officer,” Brown said.

“As we continue to evolve and respond to changes in consumer behaviour in these unprecedented times, James brings valuable insight not only from Matalan but from his roles in the wider retail sector.”

The news comes the same day Matalan updated the market with a 2.3 per cent rise in full year revenue for the 52 weeks ending February 29.

The retailer also announced it had introduced a new £25 million credit facility through the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme, plus £25 million from the issuance of new senior secured notes, and subordinated a £50 million principal amount of existing second lien notes.

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