House of Fraser boss John King departs as department store reveals swathe of changes to top team following Chinese buyout

 
Catherine Neilan
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HoF said Oddy's appointment “provides clear continuity within the leadership team” (Source: Getty)
House of Fraser chief executive John King is stepping down after eight years at the helm of the department store chain.
King's departure comes just months after the business was bought out by Chinese consortium Nanjing Xinjiekou, and follows the retirement of former chairman Don McCarthy.
King will be replaced by HoF's current chief operating officer Nigel Oddy, though he will remain on the board as a non-executive director, providing guidance on “the future strategic development of the business”.
HoF said Oddy's appointment “provides clear continuity within the leadership team”. He has more than 35 years' experience within the retail sector, primarily at Marks & Spencerm where he worked across retail, buying, merchandising and sourcing. He joined HoF in 2007, initially as director of home and hospitality.
King said: “House of Fraser is now a much stronger business and is well positioned to enter the next exciting stage of its development as we look to build the brand internationally. I believe now is the right time to hand over the reins to Nigel, with whom I have worked closely over the last eight years. Nigel is the right person to lead House of Fraser into its next phase of growth.”
Oddy added: “I look forward to building on John’s strategy to drive international expansion and continue our investment in our stores, brands and our multichannel offering.
“We have already agreed locations to expand the brand in China, with three stores due to open over the next two years, and plan to open further new stores in the Middle East with our franchise partner Retail Arabia. In addition, we will continue to focus on our strategic pillars to enhance our premium department store positioning.”
HoF has also appointed Frank Slevin as executive chairman of the group, replacing McCarthy who left last autumn.
Slevin has worked in Asia for more than 16 years, including most recently as HSBC's head of global banking for Asia Pacific.
He said: “We are very excited by the future as the business embarks on the next phase of growth. Nigel is an outstanding retailer, with experience in driving international expansion and we believe his knowledge of House of Fraser and relationships with brand partners will be invaluable as we open new stores in China and the Middle East.”
On top of this, there have been a swathe of changes to HoF's top team.
Peter Gross has been promoted from executive director of retail operations to take on Oddy's role as chief operating officer. Andy Harding moves from executive director of multichannel to chief customer officer.
Current menswear and kidswear executive director Jackie Hay has been promoted to take charge of apparel and accessories while Ray Kavanagh, director of finance picks up the reins as executive director of commercial.

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