Gareth Davies, the high profile md of John Lusty Group's Trustin Unimerchants business, has surprised the industry by announcing his resignation. Davies' departure was announced in financial results showing John Lusty's operating profit had been halved. But both sides emphasised the timing was coincidence and his departure was not connected to the results. John Lusty joint md Derek Wilson said Davies had been considering the move for some weeks, and indicated he would be branching out into a new business. Davies said he was considering options outside the direct grocery trade, but denied he would return to the sports business, the sector he worked in prior to grocery. He also pointed out he was one of the largest independent investors in John Lusty, with about nine million shares, and said he intended to retain his holding. With Davies' departure, Derek Wilson has taken control of Trustin Unimerchants as chief executive. Fellow joint md Geoff Wilson and group finance director Chris Miller take operational roles. Derek Wilson blamed the fall in profits on a margin squeeze by multiple retailers reacting to the arrival of Wal-Mart in the UK. Group turnover for the year to March 31 was £56m, up from £53.1m last year, but operating profits were down from £2.8m to £1.5m. Wilson said: "We have taken a buffeting like every company in the sector. Private label is an important part of our business and that was particularly hard hit by the margin squeeze." But he claimed the current year had started well. {{NEWS }}