HMV chief executive Simon Fox quits after six years in charge

 
Kasmira Jefford
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SIMON FOX yesterday said he was “proud” to be leaving HMV with a “profitable future” as he resigned as chief executive after six years at the helm of the embattled retailer.

Fox, who is credited with keeping HMV afloat during a tough period for the group, will step down on 3 September.

He will be replaced by Trevor Moore, who resigned as chief executive of the camera chain Jessops last month after less than three years in the role.

David Adams, former chairman of Jessops, joined HMV’s board as a non-executive director in May.

HMV, which runs 250 stores in the UK & Ireland, has struggled to keep up with the boom of digital music as sales of CDs and DVDs waned.

In May, the group forecast a loss of about £16m for the last financial year but predicted that the company will return a profit before tax of at least £10m next year.

“I am proud to be leaving HMV with a profitable future secured”, said Fox, who in 2010 passed on an opportunity to lead ITV.

“The appointment of Trevor Moore means that I will be leaving the company in safe hands”, he added.

Under his watch, HMV has cut its store estate and shifted its focus to selling more consumer technology and improving its online offering.

In January, the retailer secured a crucial lifeline from banks and suppliers, which eased its covenants and should help halve its £180m debt pile over the next three years.

But analysts at Seymour Pierce remained bearish saying HMV had “insurmountable structural issues.”

PROFILE: TREVOR MOORE

TREVOR Moore’s career seemed cut out for being chief executive of a camera company long before joining Jessops in 2009. The 43 year-old recalls being given his first SLR for his 11th birthday. “I could not afford a second lens for it until I was 22 and I’d been at work for a year. Unfortunately, I had to sell all of the equipment I then amassed over the next three years to put the deposit down on my first flat”, Moore recently told City A.M.

Moore was parachuted into Jessops at a turbulent period, when its main lender HSBC had just seized control of the specialist retailer in a debt-for-equity swap. The ailing high street chain was struggling in the face of fierce competition from online retailers, the increasing use of mobile phone cameras and mid-market point and shoot cameras.

Under Moore, the group has reduced its losses and regained some stability by revamping its stores and boosting its online presence.

HMV now hopes that the energetic and charismatic Moore can perform some similar magic on the embattled music entertainment chain.

His previous experience as managing director of operations at health club chain Esporta, when it was being prepared for auction, also stands him in good stead. He has also done stints at Coffee Republic, Thresher Group, Whitbread and Phones 4U.