Comet shake-up to halt decline

Comet, the Kingfisher-owned electrical retailer, has demoted its managing director to commercial director as part of a radical board-level shake-up aimed at halting its decline.

Brent Wilkinson will become commercial director this week. He will have overall responsibility for buying and marketing.

The position of managing director will not be filled, and commercial director Peter Hopper will become buying director.

The chain has promoted head of product marketing Lee Martin to the board as product marketing director.

Chairman Eddie Styring, who was brought back to the chain in February after a six-year absence, takes on the additional role of chief executive.

The moves are understood to be in response to declining sales and profits. In the year to January Comet suffered losses of 2m.

A Kingfisher spokesman says: “These changes are about strengthening the board to drive Comet’s recovery. The board recognises it has to focus on buying and marketing at the stores.”

Another purpose of the restructuring is to bolster the chain’s sales and service.

It has appointed a sales director, Stewart Rand, who previously held a senior position in the sales department. Meanwhile, personnel director Liz Wright takes on the role of service director.

One of Styring’s first moves when he was brought in to head the company in February was to drop its stable pricing policy and re-introduce price promotions. Kingfisher says the new board structure reflects role changes that have taken place under Styring.

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