Name: John Lovering
Was: Chairman of Somerfield
Now: Chairman of Itim

Career background: Lovering boasts a distinguished career in retailing, having held chairmanship positions at a number of prominent retailers including Homebase - where he led one of the most successful European retail buyouts ever - Debenhams, Peacock Group, Birthdays, Fitness First, Odeon, Maplin, Mitchells & Butlers and, of course, Somerfield. He read economics at Exeter University, and also has a masters in business administration from Manchester Business School.

What is he doing now? Lovering has been chairman and trustee for industry charity the Retail Trust since September 2011. He is also chairman of Maplin. Last month, he took on the role of chairman of independent software company Itim. Speaking about his appointment, Lovering said: “I’ve been very impressed by what Itim have achieved in a very short period of time. Itim’s passion for retailing, their industry knowledge, the quality of their people and their impressive customer base attracted me to the business.”

At Somerfield: In 2005, Lovering replaced John von Spreckelsen as chairman. Two years later, a ‘for sale’ sign was hoisted over the chain when Lovering was quoted as telling Reuters at the World Retail Congress in Barcelona: “We are unashamedly growing a business that will be attractive to anyone who wants a 1,000-unit c-store business. I’ve no idea when they’ll knock on my door with a big enough bag of money.” Lovering stepped down from his role in March 2009 after The Co-operative Group acquired the chain for £1.57bn.

Other interests: Lovering is a director of Montagu - a private equity firm that arranges and invests in buyouts of businesses in Northern Europe.