Name: Kevin O’Byrne
Was: European finance director, Quaker Oats
Now: CEO of B&Q and Koçtas brands, Kingfisher
Career background: A chartered accountant, O’Byrne graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, in 1987 and trained with accounting firm Arthur Andersen. He joined Quaker Oats in 1995 where he held the position of European finance director, leaving in 2000 to join finance company Hemscott as chief financial officer. He joined DSG International (formerly Dixons) after two years at Hemscott, taking up the position of group finance director before being promoted to retail finance director in 2004.
What is he doing now? In 2008, O’Byrne was poached by home improvement retailer Kingfisher, where he joined as group finance director. In February last year he was promoted to the new role of Kingfisher divisional CEO for B&Q, taking responsibility for the B&Q businesses in the UK and China as well as the B&Q joint venture in Turkey and Kingfisher’s strategic alliance with Hornbach in Germany. In 2008, he was also appointed a non-executive director for Land Securities Group. He was promoted to senior independent director there in April last year.
At Quaker Oats: This was O’Byrne’s first major role in finance. He left in the same year that PepsiCo acquired the business for $13.4bn.
What’s next? O’Byrne is likely to be kept busy in his current role, as Kingfisher recently reported that pre-tax profits dipped 1.6% to £371m in the 26 weeks to 3 August. Sales during the six-month period rose 4.3% to £5.7bn while like-for-likes sales fell 0.8%. The company said its sales and profits had been impacted by weak consumer confidence and volatile weather - record cold weather in the first quarter caused its retail profits to drop as low as 29.2%, but they recovered to increase by 10.8% in the second quarter during the heatwave.