Lakeland has announced the planned retirement of its owners Sam, Martin and Julian Rayner from its operating board of directors.
Whilst the Rayners will retire with effect from September 2020, they will retain ownership of the company. The brothers’ retirement from the operating board marks the commencement of a long-planned succession, which will see Lakeland’s current CEO Catherine Nunn take up the role of deputy chairman of Lakeland, overseeing the activities of the Lakeland Operating Board.
As Nunn steps into this new role, she will be replaced as chief executive officer by Steve Knights, currently Lakeland’s commercial director, who will be supported at board level by Paul Lewis (chief financial and operating officer), Scott Jefferson (chief commercial officer) and Neil Piggot (chief customer officer).
As part of this Board restructure, operations director, Gary Marshall, has taken the opportunity to move on and, after 16 years with the company, he will depart at the end of August with Lakeland’s deepest thanks and goodwill.
Lakeland’s non-executive director, Philip Johnson, will continue to provide support, advice and guidance to both the Rayner family and the new Operating Board.
This smaller board will allow Lakeland to be more agile, whilst focusing on the most important areas of strategy and operational delivery.
The coming weeks and months will also see further changes to structures and positions throughout the company as Lakeland looks to position itself as strongly as possible for the future.
Whilst these announcements come amid a challenging environment for retailers, The Rayner family believe that a strong leadership team, coupled with their colleagues’ expertise in delivering exceptional service and extraordinary products to their loyal customers, will see a positive long-term and sustainable future for Lakeland, despite the current trading environment.
Commenting on the announcement, Sam Rayner said: ‘In my 46 years at the helm of Lakeland, I have never been so grateful to our colleagues who, responding to the recent unprecedented events, transformed and changed our company in just a few days to meet the challenges we all faced. Our colleagues adapted, changed and moved mountains and we will be forever grateful.
“We believe that Lakeland’s overall strategy remains even more relevant now than ever before and will provide clear focus and direction for the years to come. We have also learned over the past five months that certain elements of the strategy will now need to be delivered much more rapidly than was originally envisaged, and this includes the review of our structure, along with accelerating our plans for the future running of the business.
“I’m delighted that we have been able to appoint our talented CEO, Catherine to the role of Deputy Chairman, who alongside Steve and their team will lead Lakeland into a new era.”