Jan 22, 2018
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All change as Baldock reveals new job and Boots gets new MD

Jan 22, 2018

There’s a senior executive merry-go-round in play at present as giant beauty and health chain Boots gets a new managing director and Shop Direct’s outgoing CEO reveals where he’ll be working next.

Sebastian James will now run the UK's biggest beauty chain

And the moves are all connected as the Boots chief arrives from Dixons Carphone and the Shop Direct chief replaces him there.

So to start with, Sebastian James, who is currently CEO of giant electricals retailer Dixons Carphone, is moving outside of that sector to run Britain’s biggest beauty retailer.

The more-than-140-year-old Boots business, which is part of the giant international Walgreen Boots Alliance, will welcome its new chief in late summer.

News of his departure came as a surprise as it was just weeks after the electricals firm’s finance chief had quit to take up the same role at M&S.

Boots has around 3,500 stores and employs around 57,000 people and it looks like James will have a wide-ranging role there as the firm faces up to an omnichannel future. Observers said he’s expected to not only replace Elizabeth Fagan, the senior VP and MD of Boots, but to have a wider remit. Fagan is becoming non-executive chairman at the firm.

Boots is perhaps the go-to retailer in Britain when it comes to beauty and is a key vendor for brands, as well as operating a raft of its own labels, including No7, Soap & Glory, Liz Earle, Sleek MakeUp and Botanics. The link-up with Walgreens also means that Boots’ own brand have a much wider international audience.

Meanwhile, Dixons Carphone has announced Baldock’s appointment, which will happen in April. Baldock is stepping down from his top role at Shop Direct after an impressive run that has seen the company growing fast and becoming a key player in online fashion shopping in the UK.

His departure is said to have been precipitated by the failure of the sale process for the business last year. It had been reported that the £2 billion+ that reclusive owners the Barclay bothers wanted for Shop Direct was not forthcoming, despite a number of interested bidders, and this is reported to have counted against Baldock.

Dixons Carphone chairman Ian Livingston said: "We wanted Alex for his strategic clarity, relentless execution and his ability to inspire people to get behind him at every step."

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