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Pets at Home has appointed former Morrisons non-exec Lyssa McGowan as group CEO to replace the outgoing Peter Pritchard.

McGowan, who is leaving Sky UK as chief consumer officer, will be appointed to the board as CEO designate on 25 April before starting the role on 1 June 2022.

Over the past 11 years, she led numerous business units to growth within Sky, both organically and through M&A, Pets at Home said in a statement this morning.

The group added McGowan had broad experience of managing product, service and subscription-led businesses, leveraging deep capabilities in new product and service innovation, omnichannel development, marketing and customer experience excellence, and data and digital transformation.

She was a non-executive director at Morrisons until its recent sale to Clayton, Dubilier & Rice.

McGowan will take home a base salary of £580,000 a year, a 5.5% rise on Pritchard’s pay, which the group said was broadly in line with the average increase awarded to the wider workforce in October 2021.

Pritchard announced he would leave the retailer after 11 years back in November. He will remain in his post until 31 May to “ensure a seamless transition”.

Pets at Home chairman Ian Burke said: “Lyssa brings strong corporate, strategic and operational expertise across a range of consumer-facing businesses, and a proven track record of growth at Sky, with significant experience in customer and digital-first initiatives across multiple channels and sites.”

“Following an extensive search process across internal and external candidates, the board believes that Lyssa has the requisite skills and capabilities to lead Pets at Home as it executes its future growth strategy. Lyssa’s commercial and strategic experience will undoubtedly be of great benefit to Pets at Home and I very much look forward to working with her.”

McGowan added: “I am thrilled to be joining Pets at Home as CEO. It is a fantastic business with a unique, integrated business model, and a strong purpose-led culture fuelled by the shared passion of over 15,000 colleagues and partners to care for pets, and the people who love them. I am excited to work with the board and executive management team to lead Pets at Home on its journey to being the best pet care business in the world.”

Shares at Pets at Homes rose 0.7% to 410.6p as markets opened to the news this morning.

Morning update

Shares in embattled THG have jumped another 2.6% to 138.9p this morning after stories emerged late on Friday that private equity firms are circling the business.

It puts the share price up 22% since an all-time low of 113.6p on Friday afternoon as shortsellers rushed to close position that would leave them exposed if a buyout takes place.

THG shares have crashed from heights of almost 800p in January 2021 following its IPO as the City has worried about governance issues at the group and the value of the Ingenuity arm.

The FTSE 100 started the week largeoy flat at 7,518.04pts.

Early risers include Nichols, up 6.6% to 1,450p, McColl’s Retail Group, up 3.4% to 7.2p, and Hellofresh, up 2.2% to €55.20.

Fallers included Devro, down 2.7% to 217p, Virgin Wines UK, down 1.2% to 151.2p, and AG Barr, down 0.9% to 517.4p.

This week in the City

There are a number of big updates scheduled for this week.

Things kick off tomorrow with full-year results from Ocado, alongside the latest monthly Nielsen grocery sales figures and retail sales figures from the BRC-KPMG survey.

GlaxoSmithKline, which recently rejected three bids from Unilever for its consumer health division, reports full-year results on Wednesday, while personal care firm PZ Cussons files interims.

Thursday brings the much-anticipated fourth quarter and full-year results from Unilever, with all eyes on CEO Alan Jope following the abandoned £50bn pursuit of GSK’s consumer health arm.

Spirits maker Pernod Ricard and Delivery Hero also report quarterly figures on Thursday morning, while drinks giants Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, alongside Kellogg and Philip Morris, file earnings updates in the US.

Friday finishes a busy week with preliminary results from British American Tobacco and a trading update from Tate & Lyle.