Holland & Barrett store

Source: Holland & Barrett

Holland & Barrett has appointed a new chief finance officer.

Nick Allen joins the health and wellness retailer from coffee giant Starbucks, where he spent over four years as its EMEA CFO. He will replace Robbie Bell who is leaving the business three years after joining from McColl’s in July 2020.

A retail veteran, Allen spent a year as CFO at high street optician Vision Express from 2018 to 2019 before making the move to Starbucks.

He was head of finance for Marks & Spencer’s international business from 2008 to 2012, before a six-year stint in the Netherlands as CFO for Grandvision NV.

“I am very excited to join the H&B team at this pivotal time for the business,” Allen said. “There is such a huge opportunity for H&B to grow as a leading omnichannel health & wellness retailer in the UK, Benelux and internationally.”

Bell is leaving the busiess to focus on “new opportunities” Holland & Barrett said. 

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the last three years. I joined during month one of Covid, and over my time with H&B, we’ve collectively dealt with numerous challenges; this has brought teams closer together and helped build great foundations for the future, not least the removal of our external debt,” Bell said.

”This is the right time for me to move on and hand over the CFO reins for the next phase of the H&B journey in pursuit of our purpose and vision,” he added.

Allen’s appointment comes as the business looks to move on from a series of accusations regarding its slow payment of suppliers over the past few years.

In November 2022, H&B apologised to suppliers after a series of protests from companies within its supply chain, relating to delayed payments, some extending beyond 120 days.

The retailer had previously been criticised by the Small Business Commissioner over its “poor payment practices” in 2019.

The business, which has been owned by Russian-founded investment house LetterOne since 2017, blamed the most recent issues on a series of challenges related to a “multiyear finance and systems transformation”.

It vowed to improve payment times following the completion of a deal by LetterOne to buy back more than £700m of the £1.7bn debt used to fund its takeover in November 2022.