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Growth at Boden as CEO announces departure

Boden chief executive Jill Easterbrook will step down at the end of the year, and will focus on building her portfolio of non-executive directorships. 

Jill Easterbrook

Easterbrook joined Boden in February 2017.

She previously held a range of senior roles at Tesco, including managing director of clothing for the UK and Ireland, and chief customer officer. She was group business transformation director when she left the business in February 2016.

Easterbrook is currently a non-executive director at Auto Trader UK, where she chairs the remuneration committee. She plans to build up her non-executive directorships. 

On Easterbrook’s departure, Paul O’Leary – currently Boden’s chief financial officer – will become chief operating officer. Julian Granville will continue in his role as executive chairman. 

Boden founder Johnnie Boden, said: “Jill has contributed a huge amount to Boden. She has helped us to grow up. She has been instrumental in building Boden for the future and driving our ambition as an international, digital-first, multichannel business.

“Over the last three years, we have invested in new channels, new systems and our people. I am very sad that Jill is leaving us but wish her every success in the future. The entire board joins me in thanking Jill for her commitment to Boden and for all that she has achieved.”

Alongside news of Easterbrook’s departure, the British lifestyle brand has reported a 10% increase in group sales to £383m for the year to 31 December 2018. 

Pre-tax profit grew by 11% to £30m. This was driven by a strong performance in the US, where sales were up 12% to £145m. 

Womenswear performed well in the period – up 15% – and 80 styles each contributed more than £1m in sales. 

Boden appointed its first chief technology officer in March, and continues to invest in its online infrastructure. A new web platform was introduced in 2018 and will be rolled out to all markets by the end of 2019. 

The retailer said, “investment is likely to have a negative impact on 2019 profitability”, but group sales were up 4% in the first half of 2019. 

Easterbrook said: “We delivered a strong result in 2018, growing well and delivering more profit than we planned, mainly driven by a very strong US market. We continued to invest in our long-term growth strategy, investing in people and technology.

“2019 is proving challenging for the retail sector. We have felt the impact of ongoing consumer uncertainty. This macro environment and our continued investment is likely to have a negative impact on profitability this year. However, we are continuing to grow and believe that we have the foundations in place to build on our strong brand.”

 

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