Poundland Appoints Former B&Q Boss Kevin O'Byrne as New CEO

  • Current CEO McCarthy to retire after ten years in role
  • McCarthy will be a `tough act to follow,' says analyst

Poundland Group Plc named British retail industry veteran Kevin O’Byrne as its chief executive officer, succeeding Jim McCarthy, who’s retiring after a decade in the role.

O’Byrne, the former head of the B&Q home-improvement chain, will join Poundland’s board next month and take the reins July 1. McCarthy will be available to the board until his retirement at September’s annual general meeting, the company said in a statement Wednesday.

While McCarthy is a “tough act to follow,” the fact he will remain within the business until September demonstrates that a good process “appears to have been put into place," Clive Black, an analyst at Shore Capital, said by email.

Amid a surge in the popularity of discount retailing in the U.K., McCarthy oversaw Poundland’s initial public offering in 2014, before acquiring the company’s rival 99p Stores Ltd. in September last year. Among O’Byrne’s tasks will be to revive sales growth at the discount chain, which has recently slowed amid a surge in online shopping and a price war among the U.K.’s largest supermarket chains.

O’Byrne served as the CEO of British home-improvement chain B&Q for 3 years before leaving Kingfisher Plc last year amid a management shakeup under new boss Veronique Laury. O’Byrne previously worked as the finance director of Dixons Group Plc.

“Kevin’s retail experience, in both the U.K. and many international markets, together with his clear leadership skills, make him the outstanding candidate to lead the business,” Poundland Chairman Darren Shapland said in the statement.

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