House of Fraser appoints director trio

House of Fraser, the troubled department store group yesterday completed its management reshuffle with the appointment of three new directors. The shake-up includes the departure of Tony Hancock, the operations director, who is leaving to pursue "private interests".

Mr Hancock, who was on a one-year contract, will receive compensation of pounds 150,000. Mr Hancock joined House of Fraser four years ago and was seen as a "shadow" to Andrew Jennings, House of Fraser's former managing director who was ousted in March. "They used to perform many of the same functions. It was felt we needed clearer lines of responsibility," the company said.

Mr Hancock's departure is part of the "new broom" approach of chief executive John Coleman, who only joined from Texas Homecare in April. Two of the three new directors are former colleagues of Mr Coleman when he was working at Burton.

The new operations director is Stephen Hibbert, 49, who was operations director at Texas Homecare before its takeover by Sainsbury's last year. He was previously at the operations director at Burton.

The two new merchandise directors are Ann Gordon and Rob Green. Ms Gordon will look after the buying of all clothing and cosmetics. She is currently trading director at Littlewoods stores but was previously at River Island and Dorothy Perkins, which is part of Burton.

Rob Green takes control of buying in the homewares categories of soft furnishings and electrical goods. He has spent the last eight years at Selfridges where he was responsible for the store's buying of home categories. House of Fraser split its merchandise responsibilities in two after Rebecca Sharp the previous buying director, quit after just four and a half months.

Mr Coleman said the new team would put more focus on driving up sales, restoring margins and rebuilding profits. It is possible that Mr Coleman will make more changes in lower management positions where the reporting structure is considered muddled.

In April House of Fraser reported a 50 per cent slump in profits to pounds 14m. The shares closed up 0.5p at 181p - which is just 1p above the flotation price.

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