Kingfisher appoints crown prince and princess

Kingfisher appoints crown prince and princess

CEO of British DIY-group Kingfisher, Ian Cheshire, has appointed two of his closest employees as candidate to succeed him within three years. Kevin O’Byrne, who currently leads B&Q, and Karen Witts, CFO of the company, are both in the running.

Two internal candidates

Cheshire, currently 53, wants to leave Kingfisher in 2016 at the latest. He will have lead the group for eight years by then. Earlier he had a leading role at B&Q.


The CEO is pushing two of his closest employees into the spotlight as potential successors. The first is 48-year-old Kevin O’Byrne, the former CFO of Dixons Retail who held that same position at Kingfisher for four years, before taking control of British B&Q and Turkish Koctas in February 2012.


The second is 50-year-old CFO Karen Watts. She has only been at Kingfisher since October, since earlier she worked at Vodafone and BT. It is common use at Kingfisher that at least two internal candidates are appointed as possible successors.


Declining sales for Kingfisher

Before leaving the ship, Cheshire nonetheless wants to steer Kingfisher towards calmer seas. The economic crisis has hit the company hard, especially in France and the UK. In the first quarter of the financial year 2013/2014 the company saw its global sales drop 4.2% on a comparable basis.


Kingfisher, who owns the formats B&Q, Castorama, Brico Dépôt and Screwfix, operates about 1025 shops in eight countries in Europe and Asia. In the financial year 2013, which ended late January, the company had sales of 10.573 billion pound or 12.4 billion euro, 2.4% less than in the financial year 2011/2012.


In the meantime Alain Souillard has been appointed as general director of Brico Dépôt International. Currently he is leading Brico Dépôt France, where he will be succeeded by Alexandre Falck. Souillard has worked for Carrefour for 35 years. Falck also comes from the ranks of Carrefour.