Dixons Retail Plc (DXNS), the largest U.K. consumer-electronics retailer, fell the most in more than seven months in London trading after the company said Chief Executive Officer John Browett is leaving to join Apple Inc. (AAPL)
The stock declined as much as 13 percent to 13.25 pence, the steepest drop since June 9, snapping a six-day rally.
Browett, a former head of Tesco.com, has overseen a shift toward more service-oriented, online retailing at Dixons, which this month reported improved profitability over the peak Christmas period. He will be succeeded next month by group operations director Sebastian James, Dixons said today.
“Short-term, it’s not good news,” said David Jeary, an analyst at Investec Securities with a “hold” recommendation on Dixons stock. Browett “was the architect of the renewal plan and the figurehead mouthpiece,” though the appointment of James “provides very strong continuity.”
James, 45, will be promoted to the Dixons board and succeed Browett as CEO on Feb. 20, the company said. He joined in April 2008 from Synergy Insurance Services Ltd. and his previous roles include strategy director at U.K. retailer Mothercare Plc.
Also gaining promotion to the board is Katie Bickerstaffe, who will become head of the company’s operations in the U.K. and Ireland. Bickerstaffe has worked alongside James on the retailer’s U.K. turnaround plan since joining in June 2008.
Dixons said today that business is “in line” with the patterns reported in its sales update on Jan. 17.
The shares were down 8 percent at 14.02 pence as of 8:27 a.m., trimming the gain this year to 43 percent.
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