Shock as Boots chief steps down

Health and beauty chain Alliance Boots has announced the shock resignation of boss Andy Hornby after less than two years in the role.





Mr Hornby, who gained notoriety as the head of Halifax Bank of Scotland before its near-collapse and rescue by Lloyds TSB, has stepped down with immediate effect, according to the firm.



He said his decision follows "an intense last five years" and said he would take a few months break.



Boots executive chairman Stefano Pessina will take on his role while the firm searches for a replacement.









Today's news marks an apparent blow to Mr Hornby's career, which appeared to be back on track after his appointment as chief executive of Boots so soon after his disastrous stint at HBOS.



He was one of a number of disgraced bankers - including former Royal Bank of Scotland boss Sir Fred Goodwin - who received a very public mauling in the wake of the financial crisis which led to a series of taxpayer bail-outs.



Lloyds has been left 41% owned by the state after assuming billions of pounds of bad debts through its takeover of troubled lender HBOS.



But Mr Hornby's reign at Boots appeared trouble-free, with the group's last set of results showing a 12.7% hike in trading profits and recent sales figures revealing that the high street chain shrugged off a tough December which left many rivals under pressure.



The group stressed today that it expects to deliver "another year of strong trading profit growth" when it reports results to March 31 in May.



Mr Hornby said: "After an intense last five years as chief executive of two major companies, I have decided to take a few months break."



He added: "I have thoroughly enjoyed the last couple of years at Alliance Boots during which time the company has performed very well."



Mr Hornby also leaves behind a well-paid position, with an £850,000-a-year salary, not including bonuses.



He landed a £400,000 "golden hello" when he took on the top job at Boots in July 2009 and the firm's last annual report showed he earned a total of more than £2 million in pay and benefits for the first nine months alone.



The group will now begin the hunt for his successor, but it is thought there are two strong internal candidates - Alex Gourlay, chief executive of the health and beauty division, and Ornella Barra, head of the pharmaceutical wholesale division and long-term partner of Mr Pessina.



Mr Pessina teamed up with private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts to take Boots private for £11.1 billion in 2007.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?