Analysts have welcomed the appointments of former Tesco finance boss Andrew Higginson as the new chairman of Morrisons, and Darren Shapland as Poundland’s chairman.
Higginson will join the Morrisons board on 1 October as non-executive deputy chairman and chairman elect, and will take over from Sir Ian Gibson when he retires in 2015.
Higginson was chairman of Poundland, and Shapland has taken over from him with immediate effect.
Higginson’s appointment “pleasantly surprised” the City, with Morrisons shares rising 1.7p to 174.5p on Tuesday.
“Higginson was part of the high-powered team that delivered so much success for shareholders, employees and shoppers when he was at Tesco,” said Shore Capital analyst Clive Black.
“To our minds Higginson brings a wealth of experience and talent to what it has to be said has been a troubled group in Morrisons. We await to see what adjustments, if any, Higginson brings to Morrisons in time,” he added.
Retailing analyst and consultant Nick Bubb said: “Andy Higginson doesn’t join the board of struggling Morrisons until 1 October, so the embattled CEO Dalton Philips can sleep easy for a couple of more months, but after that the pressure will be on and it will be interesting to see how long he lasts.”
On Shapland’s appointment, Black said although it was a disappointment for Poundland’s shareholders to see Higginson leave, Shapland’s “extensive retail experience” made him an “outstanding replacement.”
Bubb added that Shapland was likely to have a “much easier job at the fast-growing Poundland” than Higginson would at Morrisons, and will “get on well with chief executive Jim McCarthy.”