Fortnum & Mason has recruited a former Waitrose chief financial officer as its new CEO.
Tom Athron will join the Queen’s grocer from 1 December, replacing current boss Ewan Venters, who is stepping down in January 2021 to lead modern art gallery Hauser & Wirth. The two will conduct a handover process over the next month.
Athron has extensive board experience across both digital and physical retail brands, including in his most recent position as chief operating officer at MatchesFashion.com. He has been responsible for scaling the global fashion retailer’s British business globally, as well as leading its ecommerce, logistics, customer experience and studio teams for the past two years.
Athron also spent 12 years at the John Lewis Partnership in various roles, such as chief financial officer at Waitrose for six years and the Partnership’s group development director for over two years. In this role, he founded innovation unit JLP Ventures, which is designed to identify and drive new growth opportunities and creative partnerships across the retailer’s operations.
“The board and I are delighted that Tom has agreed to join Fortnum’s. A versatile and highly experienced business leader, Tom has extensive leadership experience in digital and physical retail across food, luxury and designer fashion: he is a great fit with the multichannel business that Fortnum’s has become,” said Kate Hobhouse, chairman of Fortnum & Mason. “Ours is a business that celebrates the very best, be it food, drink, joy-giving gifts or indeed experiences and I know that Tom will bring great energy and expertise to Fortnum & Mason.”
Athron added: “I am thrilled to be joining such a special business as Fortnum & Mason, which I have long admired for its innovation, extraordinary food and drink and its exceptional people. A traditional British business with a truly global outlook, a strong purpose and increasingly desired around the world. I am greatly looking forward to working with the Fortnum’s team on realising its further potential and contributing to the next exciting phase in its long and illustrious history.”