Finance chief leaves Sears after 16 months

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The Independent Online
SEARS, the retail group that owns Selfridges, Wallis and the Freemans catalogue business, has parted company with its finance director 16 months after he was appointed, writes Heather Connon.

Stephen Park, who joined from Hanson, will leave at the end of the month. A spokeswoman said: 'He and Liam (Strong, Sears' chief executive) have been having discussions over the past couple of months, but they decided it was not coming together in the way they had hoped so it was best if he left.'

He is on a three-year rolling contract and will be compensated, but is unlikely to receive three years' salary.

Sears has had a number of board changes since Mr Strong became chief executive in February 1992 and has paid pounds 676,000 in compensation over the past two years.

Mr Park has options over 500,000 shares which must be exercised within six months.

Mr Park will be replaced by David Defty, deputy group finance director at Grand Metropolitan.

Mr Defty has also worked at Colgate- Palmolive, Guinness and Woolworth and was finance director of IDV, Grand Met's drinks division, for four years before being promoted.

'He has a solid track record in financial management in consumer businesses,' the spokeswoman said. Sears also appointed Ian Thomson, head of its footwear business, and Rod Taylor, head of human resources, to its board.