House of Fraser chief executive Nigel Oddy has resigned less than two years after taking up the post, leaving the retailer hunting for a new boss at the start of the vital Christmas trading period.
Oddy will leave at some point in the new year once the company’s board has found his replacement, the company confirmed.
Another member of the executive board, Ray Kavanagh, will also be leaving the business. Kavanagh had responsibility for House of Fraser’s supply chain, as was first reported in the Sunday Times.
A spokesperson for the retailer said: “The Board of House of Fraser confirms it has been informed of Nigel Oddy’s intention to leave the business in the new year to pursue new opportunities. Nigel will remain with the business until such time as a new CEO is appointed and to ensure a smooth transition process.”
Oddy’s departure follows the retailer’s struggle to turn itself around. Its latest trading update in September pointed to a “very challenging retail environment” in the first half of the year.
The company said: “House of Fraser continues to trade in line with management expectations and is confident it is well positioned for Christmas, with trading over the Black Friday period to date already showing improvement on last year.”
Oddy joined House of Fraser in 2007, after rising through the ranks at Marks and Spencer before being made chief operating officer at House of Fraser.
In 2015 Oddy was made chief executive when John King stepped down following House of Fraser’s 2014 acquisition by Chinese conglomerate Sanpower Group. House of Fraser has since posted its fifth consecutive year of annual losses.
Sanpower Group was expected to provide an injection of capital as part of its turnaround plans, with charismatic chairman Yuan Yafei talking of opening stores in Russia and the Middle East.
However, it has since been reported that the extra capital has not been forthcoming. Since the beginning of 2015 House of Fraser has relied on its own funding, including through a bond issue last year.