Carphone starts to plan the succession

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The Independent Online

John Gildersleeve, the incoming chairman of Carphone Warehouse, is to put in place succession plans to prepare the company for the eventual departure of its founder, Charles Dunstone.

John Gildersleeve, the incoming chairman of Carphone Warehouse, is to put in place succession plans to prepare the company for the eventual departure of its founder, Charles Dunstone.

"We've got to think about it," said Mr Dunstone yesterday, although he insisted he had no intention at present of stepping down from the company which he began in 1989 from his London flat with David Ross, now the company's non-executive deputy chairman.

Mr Dunstone said succession planning had not been an issue previously but the new chairman, who was Tesco's former commercial director, would be addressing the matter.

Mr Dunstone, 40, has expanded the company beyond simply retailing mobile phones. It is now an integrated telecoms company with its own infrastructure network carrying calls, called Opal, a fixed-line, home phone business, TalkTalk, and its own mobile phone network called Fresh.

Announcing annual results for the year to 2 April, Mr Dunstone said the company had opened 247 new stores last year across its European operations to give it an estate of just under 1,500 stores. He said TalkTalk had slightly fewer than 1 million customers and was forecast to have 2 million by 2008. The fixed-line business had signed up 50,000 broadband customers, he said.

Sales at the retailer grew 27 per cent to £2.35bn while profits before tax and goodwill broke through £100m, ending the year at £102.1m.

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