Elaine Watson A major shakeup at the top of Landmark has propelled deputy managing director Martin Williams to the helm of the buying group. In a radical move to boost the company's IT strategy, MD Mike McGee and sales and marketing director Ron Colley are leaving to set up Smartertrader ­ a new business dedicated to developing web based solutions. The restructuring leaves Landmark free to concentrate on its core business, while maintaining close links with Smartertrader by taking a substantial stake in the new company, said chairman Steve Parfett. Smartertrader will manage Landmark's EIS sales data crunching system and drive forward its information and online ordering system, landmarkuk.com on an outsourced basis. However, it will also develop web based retail products for other companies on a commercial basis, which would not have been possible if it were seen as a Landmark subsidiary. Independent investment will also be pumped into the new business. Announcing the changesat the buying group's conference in Berlin, Parfett said the full potential of landmarkuk.com could not be realised inside the confines of a buying and marketing group. "Landmark's development of market leading information technology and e-commerce has given us a huge competitive advantage in the past but now needs even more focus and resource to move to the next stage." Progress at Landmarkuk.com has been sluggish to date, with just three wholesale members operating the system in parts of the Midlands, Tyne Tees and Wick. McGee and Colley had been instrumental in planning and implementing Landmark's cutting edge IT systems, said Parfett. Spinning this side of the business off into a company able to devote the time, cash and expertise to drive it forward more aggressively was a logical step, he added. "This is a major step in the development of the group, which shows yet again that we are prepared to make bold decisions for the good of the group and the wholesale trade." As part of the shakeup, Landmark also announced the appointment of two new senior trading controllers, with the promise of a further three appointments to strengthen the trading team "in due course". {{NEWS }}