B&Q owner Kingfisher names Carrefour stalwart as new boss
B&Q owner Kingfisher has appointed Thierry Garnier as its new chief executive to replace outgoing boss Veronique Laury.
Mr Garnier has spent 20 years working in senior roles at French retail giant Carrefour, where he currently heads up the Asia operations responsible for more than 350 stores in China and Taiwan and 55,000 employees.
He will be based at Kingfisher’s headquarters in London and will join in the autumn, with a start date still to be finalised.
Andy Cosslett, chairman of Kingfisher, said Mr Garnier is a “highly talented international retailer and proven business leader, with a strong track record over many years at Carrefour”.
He added: “Throughout his career he has led significant businesses through complex change programmes while operating in competitive and rapidly-changing retail environments.”
He particularly praised Mr Garnier’s digital push at Carrefour, most recently in China.
He joins Kingfisher at a tough time for the group, which has seen its B&Q DIY chain in the UK and operations in France – where it trades as Castorama and Brico Depot – come under pressure.
Ms Laury has come under fire as the group’s sales and profits have continued to tumble despite her efforts under a five-year transformation plan launched in 2016.
It announced her planned departure in March as it also revealed that profits tumbled 52.8% to £322 million for the year to January 31.
Mr Garnier said: “For over 20 years, I have had a great passion for retail, for retail teams, and for understanding and addressing changing customer behaviours.
“I believe that the home improvement market provides great opportunity for us, and by harnessing Kingfisher’s market-leading positions and obvious strengths, consistently meeting our customers’ needs, embracing our digital opportunity and driving innovation, I am confident that we can build an even stronger business for our customers, our colleagues and our shareholders.”
Under the overhaul led by Ms Laury, Kingfisher has shut 65 shops and axed around 3,000 jobs in the UK and Ireland.
It has also been shaking up its ranges and improving its online offering while investing £100 million as part of plans to lower everyday prices.
The group enjoyed a rare dose of cheer last month when it said warmer spring weather helped B&Q sales bounce back, rising by 2.8% in the UK and Ireland for the three months to April 30.
Kingfisher has nearly 24,600 staff in the UK and Ireland and more than 61,500 overall.