PARKER is certainly used to a complicated retail conundrum. The City grandee, who will take over as chairman of Kesa in September, has had his hands full of late rescuing baby products chain Mothercare, where he was parachuted in as chairman last August to help revive its flagging UK business. Mothercare’s former chief executive Ben Gordon stepped down, a turnaround plan was put into place and former Lovefilm boss Simon Calver was hired to lead the business, bringing with him strong online expertise. And now as chairman of Kesa, the French electronics chain battling against tough trading conditions in Europe, Parker will be expected to dish out the same tough love.
As analysts at Liberum Capital noted, given that Kesa announced its second dividend cut yesterday, it is no great surprise to see the chairman, David Newlands, stepping down.
Until 2010, Parker served as chief executive of leisure business Whitbread, which under his six-and-a-half year tenure saw its share price more than double and £2bn returned to investors. Before joining Whitbread in 1992, he served as managing director of the hotel chain Holiday Inn in Brussels and Frankfurt. Parker, who attended one of the first catering degree courses offered at the University of Surrey, is also a non-executive at a number of firms including fund manager Justice, which recently bought Burger King. He is also president of the British Hospitality Association.