LONDON — John King, chief executive officer of the Chinese-owned British department store chain House of Fraser, is stepping down as chief executive and will be replaced by Nigel Oddy, who is currently the store’s chief operating officer.
King had spent eight years at the helm of the company, and saw it through the sale to majority owner Nanjing Cenbest last year. The company said in a statement Oddy’s appointment “provides clear continuity within the leadership team.”
King is to remain in the business and take up a position as a non-executive director on the House of Fraser board, providing guidance on the future strategic development of the business, according to the company.
Oddy has held senior positions at retailers including Marks & Spencer, where he was involved in retail, buying and merchandising. He also set up the sourcing office for M&S and ran the retailer’s operation in Hong Kong. He joined House of Fraser in January 2007, and was named chief operating officer in January 2013, also taking responsibility for the company’s international operations.
In a statement, King said it was the right time to hand over the reins and added that he had been working closely with Oddy for the last eight years. “Nigel is the right person to lead House of Fraser into its next phase of growth,” he said.
Oddy said he would build on King’s strategy to drive international expansion and continue investment in stores, brands, and the multi-channel offering.
“We have already agreed locations to expand the brand in China, with three stores due to open over the next two years, and plans to open further new stores in the Middle East with our franchise partner Retail Arabia,” he said.
House of Fraser also named Frank Slevin executive chairman of House of Fraser Group. Slevin was most recently head of global banking, Asia Pacific, for HSBC.
“Frank brings enormous experience of guiding international companies as they enter, and expand within, Asia,” the company added.