By  on February 13, 2002

LONDON -- The Body Shop PLC is changing its makeup -- and staying single.

The U.K. beauty manufacturer and retailer said Tuesday it was no longer interested in selling and that founders Anita and Gordon Roddick would step down as co-chairs, but continue as nonexecutive directors.

Anita Roddick will also begin a two-year consultancy with the company on product, marketing and values, a statement said.

Adrian Bellamy and Peter Saunders, both of whom engineered the company's turnaround in North America, will take control of management.

Bellamy, formerly a director of the company, has been named executive chairman, and Saunders, chief executive and president of The Body Shop's North American division, has been promoted to chief executive of the group, replacing Patrick Gournay, who has resigned. Gournay struggled to turn the company around ever since he joined several years ago. He and Anita Roddick also reportedly disagreed over the company's direction, with Roddick publicly proclaiming that The Body Shop had "lost its soul."

"Now is the right time to hand over leadership of the company to Adrian and Peter, who have successfully transformed our U.S. business," said Gordon Roddick.

As reported on Dec. 4, The Body Shop was in talks with such companies as Paribas Affaires Industrielles, the French venture capital firm; Texas Pacific Group, the American leveraged buyout fund; the U.K.-based Lush, and the Mexican-based health products company Omnilife. Bellamy also was mentioned as a possible bidder and had held talks with The Body Shop last year about buying its U.S. operations. Those talks broke down when the Omnilife discussions began.

"Further continuation of these discussions is unlikely to result in proposals that fairly reflect the inherent value of The Body Shop, and [the Board has] therefore decided to terminate these discussions," the statement said.

Last fall, The Body Shop said six-month profits sank to $3.7 million from $9.7 million year-on-year, which the company said was due to the nonrecurrence of a number of one-off items and the seasonal effect of a larger number of company-owned stores.

The Body Shop has been suffering from its attempt to change its product line and store design too rapidly over the past 18 months.

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