Kingfisher puts two on shortlist for role as chief

Kasmira Jefford
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IAN CHESHIRE, the chief executive of Kingfisher, yesterday named two senior executives on the DIY retailer’s board as potential successors when he eventually steps down from the firm.

Cheshire said Kevin O’Byrne, chief executive of Kingfisher’s B&Q chain, and finance director Karen Witts were likely candidates for the role, although he is not planning to step down for at least another two years.

“I know I won’t be running the business in 10 years, but I will be running it in two years,” Cheshire told Bloomberg yesterday.

The 53-year-old has been at the helm of Kingfisher, which also runs Castorama and Brico Depot in France, since 2008, having joined the group as a strategy director in 1998.

He has lead Kingfisher through a challenging period for European retailers, who are struggling with weak consumer demand and poor weather.

Last year he launched a five-year self-help programme called “Creating the Leader” and analysts said Cheshire was unlikely to leave before it ends.

Witts, a former finance boss at Vodafone and BT, joined Kingfisher last year when O’Byrne took charge of B&Q.