John Lovering has stepped down after just eight months as chairman of the outdoor retailer Go Outdoors, which is poised to sell a minority stake to 3i, the listed private equity firm.
The departure of Mr Lovering, the former chairman of the department store Debenhams and the pub group Mitchells & Butlers, has surprised industry insiders as the serial deal maker only joined the Sheffield-based Go Outdoors in August.
The 27-store retailer has recently talked of a potential flotation and is thought to have hired Mr Lovering for his deep knowledge of the City and private equity. He was involved with the failed approach that Go Outdoors made for Blacks Leisure, the owner of the Blacks and Millets stores, last year. 3i is in exclusive talks with Go Outdoors to buy a stake of about 20 per cent in the retailer.
The accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is running the process. Go Outdoors and PwC declined to comment, while 3i and Mr Lovering did not return calls.
Go Outdoors posted sales of £114.9m for the year to 30 January. It more than tripled pre-tax profits to £4.25m the previous year.