Poundland ceo Jim McCarthy to retire; former B&Q ceo Kevin O’Byrne to succeed him

Poundland Group has appointed Kevin O’Byrne to the board as chief executive designate with effect from April 4. He will become chief executive officer on July 1 and succeed Jim McCarthy, 60, who has informed the board that he wishes to retire.

Jim will remain available to the board until his retirement at the AGM in September. He will leave Poundland after a decade as ceo of the single price discount retailer, having joined the company in August 2006. Under his leadership Poundland has grown from 146 stores with sales of £310 million to a business with over 900 stores in the UK, Ireland and Spain, adding £1 billion of sales in the process.

Poundland chairman Darren Shapland said: “Jim has skilfully guided the business from a small private operation in 2006 to the strong and growing business it is today. His development of Poundland’s distinctive offer and his professional retail skills, together with building a modern, agile supply chain network, were the foundations for Poundland’s transformation. His energy, enthusiasm and passionate management style has touched many people during his successful tenure. On behalf of the whole company, I would like to thank him for the enormous contribution he has made to the business.”

Jim’s successor Kevin O’Byrne started his career as a chartered accountant at Arthur Andersen. In 1995, he became European finance director of The Quaker Oats Company before joining Dixons Retail as group finance director. While at Dixons he also ran PC World in the UK, Ireland, Spain and Italy. Kevin was group finance director of Kingfisher from 2008 to 2012, when he was appointed ceo of its B&Q and Koçtas businesses in China, Turkey, Germany and the UK, until he left the business in May 2015.

He is a long-standing non-executive director of Land Securities where he chairs the audit committee and is also the senior independent director. Kevin holds a Bachelor of Business Studies from Trinity College, Dublin.

Darren Shapland commented: “I’m delighted that Jim is succeeded by an executive of Kevin’s calibre. Kevin’s retail experience, in both the UK and many international markets, together with his clear leadership skills, make him the outstanding candidate to lead the business as it continues to grow as a public company.”

Jim McCarthy said: “Poundland is a strong business, which I’m privileged to have had the opportunity to lead through a period of significant growth and change. After over 40 years in retail, including 10 years leading Poundland, I will leave the business in the hands of a very experienced leadership team who I know will give Kevin their full support. I’m delighted that Kevin will be taking over from me and I wish Poundland, its dedicated colleagues, and supplier partners, the very best for the future.”

Kevin O’Byrne said: “I’m very excited about joining Poundland: a business with a strong brand and great potential. Jim and his team have built a very good business. I look forward to working with the talented and experienced management team to deliver its ambitious plans.”

Serving over seven million customers every week, Poundland offers over 1,000 brands, across 17 shopping categories including food and drink, health and beauty, household, gardening, DIY, pet, stationery, books, DVDs and toys. It opened 60 new stores for the financial year end ending March 2015, creating approximately 1,600 jobs.

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