After a six month silence, the former chief executive of Matalan Darren Blackhurst has popped back over the parapet, this time as commercial director of DIY chain B&Q.
The moves marks an unusual step back for Blackhurst, who was a leading contender to replace former Asda chief executive Andy Bond back in 2010 (a role taken up by Andy Clarke) and who has been top boss at the discount clothing firm for two years.
A well-known figure in the food retail business, Blackhurst spent the first 20 years of his career with Tesco after joining the supermarket giant as a graduate in 1998. He worked in a variety of roles including stints at Tesco’s French and Thai businesses before leaving in 2008 to join rival Asda, where he was swiftly promoted to group merchandising director.
Blackhurst’s abrupt departure from Matalan last year came after a difficult trading period and just months after two other high profile exits. He was replaced by the founder John Hargreave’s son Jason.
B&Q, which is part of the wider Kingfisher Group, said Blackhurst’s experience at big retailers with value propositions was a good fit with B&Q.
B&Q chief executive Kevin O’Byrne, said:
I am pleased to welcome Darren to the B&Q management team. He has extensive UK and international commercial experience and is a strong leader. He will be a very good addition to the B&Q team.
The move is part of a wider management reshuffle at B&Q since O’Byrne took up the role in October and also follows the appointment of the former 118 118 boss Chris Moss to the new role of its customer and marketing director.
The role of commercial director, which includes looking after all of B&Q’s buying operations, was previously shared by two executives who are being offered opportunities within the wider Kingfisher group.