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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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

Recruitment Genius: Tax Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - OTE £25,000

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Developer - Watford - £45,000 - £47,000

£45000 - £47000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / ...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Product Manager - (Financial Services) - SW London

£35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project