Feb 23, 2023
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Former Co-op food chief competes with Oddy for Matalan top job - report

Feb 23, 2023

Former Co-op grocery boss Jo Whitfield has emerged as a key contender to take over as CEO of UK-based fashion/lifestyle retailer Matalan.


According to Sky News she’s in detailed talks with Matalan's new owners about becoming its next chief executive. A spokesman for Matalan declined to comment.

But Whitfield, who stepped down from the Co-op last year, is also up against Matalan’s interim CEO and former New Look and House of Fraser boss Nigel Oddy to run the retailer following its takeover by a group of its lenders last month.

That’s heavyweight competition so there’s no certainty of the outcome at present.

Whitfield left the Co-op by mutual agreement last year after missing out on the top group job. She already has history with Matalan having previously been a finance executive there in the early 2000s.

The Matalan acquisition resulted in founder John Hargreaves losing control of the business with a group of institutional investors including Invesco, Man GLG and Tresidor taking ownership. They’ve agreed a £257 million debt-for-equity swap and plan to inject up to £100 million of new capital into the business.

Matalan operates 230 UK stores, over 50 overseas franchise stores and an e-commerce platform and claims to have 11 million customers.

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