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Mothercare restructures top team as it makes Shop Direct hire

Mothercare has unveiled a restructured executive team, which includes the promotion of Matt Stringer to chief operating officer and the hire of Shop Direct’s Gary Kibble, as it prepares to become a digitally-led business.

Kibble, formerly director of business transformation at Shop Direct, will join the kidswear and maternity specialist on March 23 as group brand and marketing director.

In the newly created role, he will be responsible for the modernisation of the Mothercare and Early Learning Centre brands, overseeing all ecommerce activity.

Sarah Purkis will join on the same day as group HR director, tasked with leading the group’s global training and development programme. She is currentlychief people officer of World Duty Free Group and has previously held senior roles at Virgin Retail.

As previously reported by Drapers, Richard Smothers, who spent 14 years at Tesco, will commence his role as chief financial officer the same day. He replaces Matt Smith, who left the company to join Debenhams.

In addition to the new hires, Matt Stringer, previously UK commercial director, has been appointed chief operating officer and Karl Doyle, previously group merchandising director has been appointed group buying and merchandising director.

Both Jerry Cull and Tim Ashby will continue in their current roles as international managing director and group general counsel and company secretary respectively.

The business said the restructure will allow it to deliver its new strategy, which includes becoming a digitally-led business supported by a modern retail estate in order to stabilise and recapture gross margin.

It also indicated plans to expand internationally, but did not highlight key markets or provide a timeline.

“Last autumn we laid out the future vision and strategy for our business and made clear the need to modernise in order to achieve our ambition,” said Mothercare chief executive Mark Newton-Jones. “I am confident that this new team, with its wealth of digital, customer, product and transformation expertise, will deliver this.”

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