Newstrade wholesaler Connect Group has named Jozef Opdeweegh as its new chief executive officer.
Opdeweegh, known as Jos, will join the company on 1 September 2018. He will take over from Mark Cashmore who will step down from the board on 31 August but stay on for a short handover period. Cashmore announced that he was leaving Connect in order to explore new opportunities when the company issued a profits warning last month.
Opdeweegh has spent the last 17 years in various CEO roles across global technology, distribution and supply chain optimisation companies.
Before that he began his career in the financial services industry.
“This is an exciting time to be joining the group,” he said.
“With two strong brands (Smiths News and Tuffnells) and a leading position in each of our markets there is every opportunity to drive an improvement in performance and establish a strategy that delivers value for all stakeholders.”
Connect Group chairman Gary Kennedy added: “I am looking forward to working with Jos to deliver our plans for strategic turnaround, profit performance and capital management.
“Jos brings a wealth of experience in delivering value-driven strategic change. A results-driven executive, his energy and relentless focus on delivery will be central to our turnaround and in sustaining performance improvement.
“I am grateful to Mark Cashmore for his invaluable contribution during his tenure.”
The National Federation of Retail Newsagents will seek an urgent meeting with Opdeweegh to discuss challenges in the news supply chain.
“Mr Opdeweegh joins at an interesting time as it is just ahead of the implementation of Smiths News’ latest carriage charge increase,” explained NFRN national president Mike Mitchelson.
“NFRN members can rest assured that in any discussions we have with him we will demonstrate why carriage charges are outdated and unfair, and why an alternative needs to be found to ease the financial burden on independent retailers.”