Kingfisher sheds two more

The boardroom clear-out at Kingfisher, the embattled Woolworths and B&Q retailer, continued yesterday with the announcement that two more of the main board directors are to leave amidst a dramatic pruning of the group's bloated head office structure.

The shake-up sees the departure of Nigel Whittaker, Kingfisher's corporate affairs director and one of the original members of the management buyout team that founded the company in 1982. Tim Breene, the strategy director who joined the board last year, will also be leaving. Their roles "are no longer appropriate", the company said.

Both are on controversial three-year rolling contracts and will be entitled to substantial compensation. Mr Whittaker draws a salary of £410,000, so he could be entitled to up to £1.2m. Mr Breene's salary is not disclosed in the latest annual report.

Their departures are part of a strategy review that will see the head office staff reduced from 100 to 60. Most of the positions will be redeployed within the operational business but there will be some redundancies. Costs at Kingfisher's head office, once a model of corporate thrift, have mushroomed to around £15m a year.

The clear-out means that four of the top board directors have left the troubled high street retailer since a profits warning in January. Last month Kingfisher announced that the chief executive, Alan Smith, and finance director, James Kerr-Muir, were to leave the group and that the former chairman, Sir Geoff Mulcahy, was to take the reins as chief executive.

Neither Mr Whittaker nor Mr Breene will depart immediately. Mr Whittaker will stay on "for a while" to hand over some of his responsibilities.

Sir Geoff said: "What we are doing is refocusing management more clearly and making those responsible for running the businesses more accountable. Unfortunately changes of this kind means casualties. We are sorry to be losing both Nigel and Tim. In particular I would like to thank Nigel for his contribution over many years."

Nigel Whittaker declined to comment yesterday but a spokesman said: "It's been a long-term partnership and I imagine it is quite an emotional time for them. It's not been easy for Geoff to make a decision like this."

Analysts regarded the departures as inevitable. One said: "They have paid the price for the previous problems. It was difficult to justify their position on the board." Another said the clear-out intensified the pressure on Sir Geoff to turn Kingfisher around. "The director changes were unavoidable stuff but it does not alter the critical problem of how they run the businesses in tough markets."

The shares dipped 3p to 426p.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
voicesThokozile Masipa simply had no choice but to jail the athlete
Arts and Entertainment
Sister Cristina Scuccia sings 'Like a Virgin' in Venice
music

Like Madonna, Sister Cristina Scuccia's video is also set in Venice

Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

News
i100
Life and Style
The Tinder app has around 10 million users worldwide

techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior Pensions Administrator

£23000 - £26000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Corporate Actions Administrator / Operations Administrator

£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: A Corporate Actions Administrator / Operations Admini...

Customer Service Executive / Inbound Customer Service Agent

£18 - 23k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Customer Service Executiv...

ASP.NET Web Developer / .NET Developer

£60 - 65k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a ASP.NET Web Developer / ....

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album