Mothercare boss steps down a week after shutting all 79 UK stores

The boss of Mothercare has stepped down, just a week after the retailer shut all 79 of its UK stores.

The announcement was part of wholesale leadership changes by the baby care business as part of its “transformation plan”, which will see it become an international franchise operation.

Chief executive Mark Newton-Jones said he will step down from the role, but stay with the firm as a non-executive director until July 2020 to help the company in its transition.

Former finance chief Glyn Hughes has taken over as interim chief executive with immediate effect, the company said.

Mothercare said it is bringing Andrew Cook to its main board as chief financial officer, having previously worked as the retailer’s corporate development officer.

Meanwhile, long-standing chairman Clive Whiley will become non-executive chairman with effect from March 29. In September, he was named as funeral director Dignity’s next chairman.

The retailer said it is now “broadly on track” with its transformation plan and has raised £8.7 million from existing investors, despite the administration of Mothercare UK.

Mothercare shut all of its UK high street stores last weekend, as 2,500 jobs were lost across the country.

The listed global business has remained afloat despite pressures in the retail industry, with its focus on franchising the Mothercare brand.

In December, Mothercare agreed a deal for Boots to become its exclusive franchisee in the UK and sell Mothercare-branded products across its stores.

Mr Whiley said: “As we approach the completion of our transformation plan, Mothercare once more has a brighter future ahead as a solvent and cash generative group.

“We have made good progress with the transformation plan and the risks to achieving the outcomes we laid out in November are increasingly dissipated.

Our plans for the final steps of the recapitalisation of the group are in hand and whilst the cash realisation from the Mothercare UK administration was lower than anticipated, the progress that we have made elsewhere means that the financing requirement overall is unchanged.”

Shares in Mothercare dived 9.6% to 15.1p in early trading.