Halfords looks to have made an astute appointment in naming Graham Stapleton as the replacement for outgoing chief executive Jill McDonald.
The retailer has been on the lookout for a new boss since May when M&S confirmed that McDonald had been hired to lead its clothing and home division.
McDonald leaves the business at the end of this month and Halfords’ current chief financial officer Jonny Mason will act as interim chief executive until Stapleton takes the reins early next year.
Stapleton boasts an impressive CV consisting of diverse roles with a number of major retailers, including M&S and Kingfisher; but it is at Dixons Carphone where he has really made his mark.
Stapleton is currently responsible for the retailer’s software business, Honeybee, and previously served as chief executive of Carphone Warehouse in the UK and Ireland between 2013 and 2015.
In this role, he is credited with playing a major part in the merger of Carphone Warehouse and Dixons and it is this experience of leading a business transformation, coupled with the commercial and operational skills acquired during a 12 year career with the business, that should serve Stapleton and Halfords well as the retailer pushes forward with its Moving up a Gear strategy. I wish him all the best when he takes up his new role in January.
After last week’s rush of exits I can’t let this week’s article pass without mentioning John Colley’s decision to leave Hobbycraft after just two months in the role of chief executive.
Colley says the fit wasn’t right for him, in which case something has gone seriously awry in the recruitment process. At Colley’s level the process of finding the right candidate is extremely rigorous, involving thorough testing – including psychometric testing in the case of Anthony Gregg Partnership – to ensure the candidate is the right cultural fit for the business.
Prior to their appointment, someone in Colley’s position will have been presented with a full picture of Hobbycraft’s business position to ensure there are no nasty surprises awaiting them on their first day in charge.
Thereafter, unless something major happens like a takeover, as a headhunter you would expect that person to stay in post for at least three to five years and to have a clear succession plan in place for their eventual departure.
Back in April I wrote that, given his relatively short 18 month tenure at Majestic, it would be important for Colley to put down roots at Hobbycraft for a number of years. This clearly hasn’t happened and makes his next move even more critical to get right.