LONDON — Sir Philip Green’s retail holding companies and brands — Taveta Investments, Arcadia Group and Topshop/Topman – have a new chairman in Andrew Coppel, whose background is in running and overseeing financial and property development companies.
Coppel will be responsible for each board’s effectiveness and corporate governance as well as supporting the executive team with the delivery of their respective turnaround strategies. He will play a lead role in communicating with the group’s key stakeholders, including pension trustees, lenders and colleagues.
The chairman’s role overseeing three companies is a new one, and Coppel will be charged with keeping an eye on Green — and his managers — as they restructure the troubled companies.
Earlier this year Karren Brady resigned from her non-executive chairman’s role at Taveta, having come under fire from British media for not doing more, once allegations of misconduct by Green emerged in The Telegraph newspaper.
Ian Grabiner, chief executive officer of Arcadia Group, said Coppel “has a wealth of relevant experience and I look forward to working with him as we continue to implement our growth strategy. Since we completed our restructuring process over the summer, we have been making good progress with our plans, focusing investment on delivering better customer experiences, improving our digital offer and extending our wholesale partnerships. Despite the ongoing headwinds for U.K. retailers, I am confident this progress will continue.”
Coppel said the group “has a stable platform from which to move forward. I am confident that we can make good progress in the interests of all our stakeholders. We have 18,000 very capable and loyal employees servicing our brands located in our 2,400 stores, concessions and franchises globally and through our wholesale partners, including Next, Asos, Zalando and Nordstrom in the U.S.”
The group’s disgruntled creditors voted in favor of seven proposed CVAs, or company voluntary arrangements. Creditors’ approval meant that Arcadia could close stores, lay off workers, negotiate rent cuts and slash costs in a bid to return to profitability.
Had creditors, including pension trustees, suppliers and landlords, not given Arcadia the green light, the parent of brands such as Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins would have likely been forced to file for bankruptcy, putting 18,000 jobs at risk.
Coppel is chairman of Dolphin Capital Investors, an AIM listed developer of real estate and a non-executive director of M J Gleeson plc, the listed house builder. Additionally, he is chair of the Trustees of Shooting Star Children’s Hospices.