Name: Paul Mason
Was: CEO of Somerfield
Now: Chairman of Mayborn
Career background Paul Mason has worked in the retail industry for 30 years and has held a number of top jobs in the grocery sector. He started his career at Mars, before moving on to B&Q. He then held a number of senior management roles at Asda during a six-year spell until he was appointed president and CEO of the supermarket in 2000. But he held the role for less than a year before being poached by Matalan. He then moved on to Levi Strauss, returning to grocery in 2006 as CEO of Somerfield. He stepped down in March 2009 when the chain was acquired by the Co-operative Group.
What is he doing now? Mason has a number of chairmanships under his belt. In August 2008, he became chairman of handbag brand Radley + Co. He was also named chairman of Cath Kidston in November 2010 and in January took on the chairmanship of Mayborn - the manufacturer of baby brands Tommee Tippee and Closer to Nature.
Biggest achievement in grocery Mason is credited with the turnaround of Somerfield and its subsequent sale to The Co-op Group. He was quick to realign prices closer to those of its larger rivals and in December 2008, just months before the Co-op sale was completed, Mason revealed like-for-likes had been reversed from a 2.4% drop to a 2.5% increase, and that debts had reduced from £882m to £770m. When Somerfield was sold, he told The Grocer: “Our profit margin has doubled and our shareholders have doubled their investment.”
What does the future hold? Many expect Mason to take up a full-time role somewhere in the retail sector. In December, he was linked to the CEO role at Mothercare. However, LoveFilm CEO Simon Calver was appointed to the role last month.