john colley

Majestic Wine retail MD John Colley is swapping alcohol for knitting and crochet by becoming the new CEO of Hobbycraft.

Colley is leaving his current position on 31 May after 18 months to take a new role closer to his young children in the South of England. He will succeed Catriona Marshall as CEO who, after six years with the business, is planning to step down in July 2017.

Rowan Gormley, group CEO of Majestic Wine, who took charge after the £70m takeover of Naked Wines in April 2015, will add the managing director role to his other responsibilities. It is understood this will be reviewed after a period.

Gormley said Colley had played a key part in the first phase of the transformation of Majestic Retail.

The retail and commercial board, built by Colley since joining in October 2015, will carry on running the day-to-day business, reporting directly to Gormley. The statement also said that the Naked Wines and Lay & Wheeler businesses would continue to report directly to Gormley.

“For the first time in many years Majestic is organically growing sales and our job is now to accelerate that by building our customer base through loyalty,” said Gormley. “This is exactly what gets me excited and what I love doing so it’s a perfect time for me to get more involved.

“Congratulations John. Thank you for getting Majestic back on its feet and the very best of luck in your new role.”

Analysts at Liberum added: “The heavy lifting has been done and the business is in a much stronger position. Sales growth has returned, KPIs are all moving in the right direction and it is now time to focus on improving second shop rates, lifetime value of customers and building the customer base through loyalty. This plays to the strengths of Rowan Gormley’s skill sets.”