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Matalan announces new chairperson and chief commercial officer

Sadiyah Ismailjee
26 June 2020

Value focused retailer, Matalan has announced the appointment of a new chairperson and a new chief commercial officer.

Steve Johnson is set to replace John Mills as chairperson, less than a month after Mills said he would be stepping down from the board. James Brown will be also be taking on the brand new board-level role of chief commercial officer.

Matalan said Johnson was chosen after a “thorough” recruitment process, and will begin on 1 July, working alongside Mills during a transition phase.

Previously Johnson has held executive roles at furniture retailer Dreams, and he is also currently a non-executive director at DFS and Russian retail giant Lenta.

Matalan chief executive Jason Hargreaves said: “John [Mills] has successfully led the board through the Covid-19 crisis, navigating multiple and unprecedented challenges whilst the company has continued to trade and adapt to new ways of working.”

“I would like to personally thank John for all his support. Over the last 14 years with Matalan his commitment and loyalty has been outstanding along with his advice on many levels."

“Steve [Johnson] brings strong leadership and a relevant skill-set from his experiences of executive and non-executive positions."

“This includes strategy, transformation and the subsequent growth of several UK and international retailers such as Dreams, Focus DIY, currently non exec director of DFS and Lenta Ltd, one of Russia’s largest retail chains.”

James Brown starts his role from 18 August, and will focus on Matalan's customer and product proposition and end-to-end trading strategy.

Brown has held director-level roles within Shop Direct and Sainsbury’s. His most recent role was commercial director of general merchandising and clothing at Sainsbury’s, where he navigated the multichannel commercial strategy.

Previously he was also the ladieswear merchandising controller at Matalan from 2002 to 2006.

“James Brown will be an excellent addition to the Matalan team, and he brings with him a wealth of experience to the new role of chief commercial officer.”

“As we continue to evolve and respond to changes in consumer behaviour in these unprecedented times, James brings valuable insight not only from Matalan but from his roles in the wider retail sector.”

The news follows the same day Matalan reported a total revenue of £1,129.4 million in the full year to 29 February, rising 2.3% from the £103.9 million attained the previous year.

The retailer also announced it had introduced a new £25 million credit facility via the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme, as well as £25 million from the issuance of new senior secured notes, and subordinated a £50 million principal amount of existing second lien notes.

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