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New Primark chief to push product

Value fashion giant Primark is set to benefit from a greater focus on product and a strong merchandising structure under new chief executive Paul Marchant.

Marchant, who was promoted to the position on September 13, joined Primark in January as chief operating officer from New Look, where he held the same role.

Marchant has taken the reins from Primark founder Arthur Ryan, who remains chairman of the business. Marchant said: “This role is one of the most exciting in international retail.”

A former colleague said: “Marchant’s strength lies in merchandising and that was a weakness at Primark before, so he will add structure.”

She added: “It will be a big cultural change. Ryan was very hands-on so the business may lose some of that individualism and passion but it will probably be better supported from a commercial perspective.”

Sue Shipley, head of retail practice at headhunter Odgers Berndtson, which placed Marchant at Primark, said: “He has handled the transition of leadership extremely well and sensitively. All the work will start now. I am very confident he will step up to the plate. Inevitably, there could be changes to the culture of the business although Paul recognises what has made the business successful.

“He is fantastic on product and operationally has been doing a lot in that area.”

It is unclear how involved Ryan will be in the day-to-day running of Primark.

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