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Pureplay Boohoo looks to offline Primark for its next chief executive

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The board of pureplay retailer Boohoo Group has looked to offline Primark for its next chief executive, as it prepares for international growth.

The retailer, ranked Top250 in IRUK Top500 research, has appointed Primark chief operating officer (COO) John Lyttle to the post. Lyttle will take over from current joint chief executives Mahmud Kamani and Carol Kane from March 15 next year.

Boohoo says that the move is part of a strategy to “support the journey of the group through its further international expansion”.

Kamani will now become group executive chairman, replacing Peter Williams, previously chief exeutive of Selfridges, who is stepping down from March 15, while Kane will stay on the board as group co-founder and executive director, a role in which she will focus on creativity and the retailer’s multi-brand strategy. 

Kamani and Kane, who founded together in 2006, said they were “thrilled” with the appointment. “This is a hugely exciting time for the group as the fast fashion market continues to shift online and more and more customers across the globe are joining as customers of our brands,” they said. “The group has experienced exceptional growth over the past few years, with turnover increasing 24 fold from £24.5m in 2011 to £579.8m for the year ended 28 February 2018 and we believe John is ideally placed to guide the group through the next stage of its growth; whilst he was COO at Primark, turnover increased from £2.7bn in 2010 to £7.1bn in 2017. Our next priority for boohoo is to ensure we have world class infrastructure and technology in place and we believe John is the right person to lead that journey.”

Primark’s growth has to date been predominantly offline, although the business is using a non-transactional website and social media channels to build a following and raise awareness of its stores. The retailer, owned by Associated British Foods, has more than 350 stores across the UK, Ireland, Europe and the USA.

Lyttle said: “I have known Mahmud and Carol for a number of years and have watched the growth of the boohoo group with admiration. I am hugely excited to be joining the group at this key stage of its growth and capitalising on what is a global opportunity.”

Peter Williams said the move was a “step change into a new era” for the Boohoo Group, which operates brands including, Nasty Gal and Pretty Little Thing.

Image courtesy of Boohoo Group

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