Habitat chief executive quits

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The Independent Online

Mark Saunders, the chief executive of Habitat, left the furniture retailer this week.

Habitat, which was acquired by the restructuring specialist Hilco in December, suffered hefty losses of £42m last year. But the furniture chain is expected to break even in the year to 31 May 2011, as Hilco delivers its turnaround plan of cost reductions, improved buying and new products.

This week, Hilco hired Phil Wrigley, the former chairman of the fashion chain New Look, as its chairman. John Freise, Hilco UK's head of retail operations, will become Habitat's interim chief executive until a replacement is found.

ICAF, Habitat's former owners, sold the chain to Hilco in a deal that involved writing off debts and providing working capital of £45m.