Row sparks top departure at WH Smith

WH Smith’s commercial director Brent Wilkinson has left after clashing with new managing director Beverley Hodson, who joined in May.

Wilkinson leaves with no job to go to. It is understood he was unhappy that the md’s job was given to an outsider, and felt he should have been given it rather than Hodson. Hodson is the former managing director of Sears-owned shoe chains Dolcis and Cable & Co.

WH Smith chief executive Bill Cockburn has put in place a four-year plan to rejuvenate the chain’s fortunes. Its profits have been hit by falling sales and strong high street competition.

Last August, the chain announced losses of 195m, its first losses in 204 years. As part of the turnaround plan, managing director Peter Bamford left abruptly in April, and Hodson was brought in.

Wilkinson joined WH Smith in September last year from Kingfisher Group.

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