Robert Moorhead WH Smith

Robert Moorhead joined WH Smith in 2004 

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WH Smith’s long-serving CFO Robert Moorhead is planning to retire from his position later this year after more than 20 years with the retailer.

Moorhead has advised the board of his intention to step down as chief financial officer and chief operating officer.

Max Izzard, whis is currently senior vice president of group and corporate finance at Burberry, will join WH Smith on 1 September to takeover from Moorhead when he leaves on 30 November.

WH Smith said Izzard was “a highly experienced finance director, with deep expertise in multi-site international consumer businesses”.

Chairwoman Annette Court paid tribute to Moorhead’s “outstanding achievements” during his 20 years at WH Smith.

“He has played an integral role in the transformation of the company to a highly successful global travel retailer, trading in 32 countries around the world,” she said.

CEO Carl Cowling added: “Robert has been a fantastic support to me and the broader executive teams. In particular, I want to thank him for his work during the exceptional challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and the way he skillfully navigated the financial complexities of those times.

“It is testament to his efforts and talents that he will leave the company in such a strong financial and strategic position. I thank him for that and wish him all the best for his retirement.”

Moorhead joined the company in 2004 as finance director of retail. He was appointed CFO in 2008 and CFO/COO in 2013.

“It has been both a pleasure and an honour to have worked at WH Smith over the last 20 years,” he said.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Annette and Carl and also my many colleagues, past and present, for their support and friendship. I am highly confident that the future for WH Smith is an exciting one and I hand over to Max knowing that the company is well set for many years of continued success.”

Izzard added: “I have admired the transformation of the business and I am excited to be joining one of the world’s leading travel retailers.

“I look forward to working closely with Carl and the leadership team to help deliver continuing success for our shareholders and other stakeholders.”

Shares in the group opened 0.5% lower this morning at 1,240.4p.

Morning update

Iain McDonald is leaving the board of THG at the end of the month.

He has been a non-executive director at the ecommerce group for 14 years.

THG said that McDonald was “a highly-valued and experienced member” of the board and had overseen the group’s “growth and evolution into a global leader” in three major categories.

Following his departure, the board will be made up of three executive directors and six non-execs.

Chairman Charles Allen thanked McDonald for “the significant contribution” made to the company.

CEO Matthew Moulding said: “Iain has made a remarkable impact on THG during his time on the board. There’s no doubt whatsoever that THG would not be in such a strong position as it is today had Iain not joined us 14 years ago.

“Under his guidance, THG has grown revenues and adjusted EBITDA 20-fold and 50-fold respectively, while migrating away from retailing CDs/DVDs and evolving into a global leader in beauty, nutrition and technology.”

McDonald added: “As the THG board evolves to a more conventional PLC structure, the time is right for me to step away from my current role.

“I intend to remain very close to THG and a committed long term investor. I could not be more proud to have played even a small role in the incredible business which Matt and his team have built and to have been so welcomed as a member of the THG family. Looking forward it is pleasing to step away at a time when the business itself couldn’t be in better shape.

“The scale of the capability in THG is something which few appreciate.”

The FTSE 100 is down 0.1% to 7,735.32pts this morning.

THG fell 0.5% first thing to 60.6p, while Science in Sport is down 2.4% to 15.1p, Reckitt Benckiser is down 2.1% to 5,144p, Nichols is down 1.7% to 1,052p and Just Eat Takeaway is down 1.5% to 1,144.3p.

Glanbia, Deliveroo and Greencore are among the early risers, up 3.3% to €17.78, 1.5% to 119p and 1.4% to 108.4p respectively.

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 edged back 0.4% to 7,737.83pts.

Deliveroo was among the day’s risers after EBITDA came in ahead of guidance in its results for 2023. It’s share were up 1.9% to 116.7p.

Other winners included Naked Wines, AG Barr and Domino’s Pizza Group, up 2.4% to 64.2p, 2.3% to 539p and 2.4% to 371.6p respectively.

Pets at Home led the fallers, down 5.4% to 257.8p, while Cranswick was down 1.4% to 4,076p and Fever-Tree sank 2.9% to 1,155p.