The business on...Darcy Willson-Rymer, CEO-designate, Clinton Cards
Saturday 30 July 2011
Isn't he the coffee guy?
Yes. If you mean is he the current managing director of Starbucks UK and Ireland, then you are drinking from the right coffee mug.
Has he got tired of drinking lattes and frappuccinos then?
Not really, but he is leaving to become chief executive of Clinton Cards, the UK's biggest greeting cards retailer with about 800 shops.
Isn't Starbucks UK doing well?
That's right. Under Mr Willson-Rymer's leadership, the UK arm of the chain had a rough old ride during the recession. However, it has bounced back after he helped to reinvigorate its offers and its store environment.
Not so frothy, sadly. Clinton has been battered in recent years by consumers sending electronic greetings, such as through Moonpig, or not bothering at all and sending an email – or, for the heartless, a text.
He fancies a challenge then?
It looks that way, as Clinton's recent dire trading has forced it to slash its store count from around 1,300 in 2005, including putting its Birthdays chain into administration in 2009. It later bought back a large chunk of the shops, having shed their liabilities. Numis forecasts pre-tax profits of just £2.5m this financial year.
I'll say. Another reason why Mr Willson-Rymer, who will join Clinton Cards in October, looks brave is that he will be the first boss of the company who has come from outside the Lewin family. The chairman, Don Lewin, who founded the retailer more than 40 years ago, is to step down into a non-executive role.
Sounds like all that caffeine has gone to his head?
Well, hold on. There have been unsubstantiated rumours that the management team of Clinton has approached City banks with a plan to take the listed company private.
Could be – and Mr Willson-Rymer will be incentivised to the tune of more than a latte if he turns it around.
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