Matalan names new Chair from Takko, ex-Co-op food leader Whitfield is CEO
There’s a new leadership team at Matalan with the company announcing on Monday that Karl-Heinz Holland is now the company’s Chair and Jo Whitfield joins as CEO. And Nigel Oddy, who was Interim CEO of Matalan, “concludes his six-month role”.
It’s interesting that the new leadership duo has deep experience in the supermarkets arena as well as in fashion and other categories, although the new Chair has come directly from a fashion discounter role.
He spent 23 years at Lidl Group, six as CEO, responsible for leading its major expansion across Europe. He’s also been CEO of DIA Group, which operates 5,700 neighbourhood stores across Spain, Argentina, Brazil, and Portugal.
But since May 2018, he’s been Chairman of Takko Fashion GmbH, a successful European discount fashion retailer. He was its Executive Chairman and CEO from early 2021 until last spring and will stay on as Chairman of that company.
Meanwhile Whitfield was most recently CEO of the Co-op’s Food division, covering its retail, wholesale, online and franchise businesses, as well as its Property division. She oversaw revenues of £10.8bn in 2021 and was responsible for over 55,000 employees.
Before that, she was head of the Asda General Merchandise business and VP for Operations, e-Com and International at its George label. She was also Head of Finance at Matalan between 2002 and 2008.
As for Nigel Oddy, he’s staying on until the end of this month “and will undertake an orderly handover of his responsibilities to Jo and the wider executive team”.
Michael Phelps, Partner at Tresidor Investment Management, one of the anchor investors in Matalan, praised the “experience and focus” of Holland and Whitfield, citing their “proven track-record of making positive impacts in value retail”. He also said they’re “the perfect fit for Matalan as it focuses on this next stage of its growth”.
And he thanked Oddy and Paul Copley (Interim Chair during the recent sale process). Copley will remain on the board once the new leadership team is in place.
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