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Kingfisher has announced its group chief executive Sir Ian Cheshire is to be succeeded by Véronique Laury, chief executive of Castorama France, before the end of the current financial year.
Sir Ian Cheshire will also retire from the Board on January 31, 2015. During Sir Ian's tenure as group chief executive, reported sales grew 23%, adjusted profit before tax increased 108% (from £357m to £744m) and Kingfisher's market capitalisation increased by £3.8bn.
The decision was reached during the regular succession discussions between the Board and Sir Ian Cheshire.
Laury has worked in home improvement retailing for 26 years and has been with Kingfisher for 11 years. Aside from chief executive of Castorama France, she has previously held the roles of commercial director of Castorama France, Kingfisher group commercial director and commercial director of B&Q UK & Ireland.
Over the next five years the company aims to expand its brands Screwfix and Brico Dépot into new markets, deliver group-wideT systems and omnichannel capabilities, plus integrate Mr Bricolage with Kingfisher's businesses in France.
Daniel Bernard, Kingfisher chairman commented: "It has been a pleasure to work with Sir Ian, and on behalf of the Board and our colleagues I want to thank him for his successful leadership. He has transformed Kingfisher into a stronger business with a bright future during a difficult economic time."
Bernard continued: "Following a rigorous review of candidates, internally and externally, the Board believe Ms Laury is uniquely qualified to lead the business on the next leg of its journey. She is an outstanding retailer, with 26 years' experience of home improvement retailing in France and the UK. She is passionate about helping customers have better homes and we are delighted that she has agreed to provide the leadership, pace and drive to deliver our strategy."
Sir Ian Cheshire, group chief executive said: "It has been a privilege to lead Kingfisher and I am proud of our achievements. My primary aim on becoming group chief executive almost seven years ago was to deliver a step change in the value of the business for our shareholders and I am delighted that this aim has been achieved...Now is the right time to hand over to a new leader and I am delighted that Véronique, who I have worked closely with for over 11 years and know is superbly qualified for the job, has agreed to take over from me."
Véronique Laury, group chief executive designate said: "Kingfisher is a strong business, well positioned in the home improvement market and I am delighted and honoured to be appointed as group chief executive. Building on Sir Ian's legacy we will reinforce our purpose to support those who want to improve their homes."
The company has also announced its half-year total sales are up 0.9%, with adjusted pre-tax profits of £364m. UK & Ireland sales were up 6.6% and retail profit was up 17.7%.