HOMEBASE has poached Tesco director Echo Lu to be its new managing director and lead a turnaround at the retailer that will see it close a quarter of its shops.
Lu, who was previously head of group business planning and insight at Tesco, will join on 20 April, replacing its longstanding boss Paul Loft, the DIY chain’s Home Retail Group said yesterday.
Homebase plans to shut a quarter of its 323 branches, blaming excess retail space and the rise of a generation that had fallen out of love with DIY.
The closures were announced in October as part of a three-year turnaround plan that includes modernising its stores, adding more Argos and Habitat concessions and retraining staff.
Lu, a graduate of Fudan University in Shanghai, began her career at pharmaceuticals giant Bristol-Myers Squibb, where she rose through the ranks to become HR director.
She has held a number of senior roles at Tesco’s Asian arm, including chief operating officer of its China business.
Her appointment means two of the UK’s biggest DIY stores are now run by women, after Veronique Laury took over the reins at Kingfisher in December.