City surprise at Dunelm's new boss


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The Independent Online

From iPads and ear-rings, serial retailer John Browett is moving into soft furnishings as the next chief executive of homeware group Dunelm.

The move by a man who was paid a $56m (£36m) “golden hello” when he went to run Apple’s retail business in 2012 – but lasted just six months – surprised retail analysts. He stepped down from running Monsoon Accessorize after a three-year stint in February.

Will Adderley, son of Dunelm’s founders, has been stand-in chief executive since last September’s surprise departure of Nick Wharton. He will remain in charge during an unusually long six-month “induction” period for Mr Browett, who will start next week.

Mr Browett was a high-flying executive at Tesco and became chief executive of Dixons Retail in 2007 before his brief sojourn at Apple and then Monsoon. He knows Dunelm’s incoming chairman, Whitbread chief executive Andy Harrison, from easyJet where they are both non-executive directors.

Current chairman Geoff Cooper said: “John brings an exceptional combination of business leadership and outstanding retail skills across a breadth of sectors, from grocery to electricals and fashion. His proven experience of applying technology in multi-channel operations will help us accelerate our digital plans.”

Dunelm also said it was close to appointing a new finance director to replace David Stead, who retires later this year.