Storehouse gives Carlton man top job: Strategy brief for Edelman as he fills four-month gap left by Dworkin

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The Independent Online
STOREHOUSE, the BhS and Mothercare group, yesterday poached Carlton Communications' young managing director, Keith Edelman. The appointment ends a four-month interregnum at Storehouse following the abrupt resignation of David Dworkin, former chief executive, in February.

Mr Edelman, 42, joined Carlton in May 1991 as managing director, acting as number two to the media group's chairman, Michael Green. Previously he had spent seven years at Ladbroke where he built up the Texas DIY chain, following periods at IBM, Rank Xerox, Bank of America and Grand Metropolitan.

The stock market was left relatively unmoved by the appointment. Shares in Storehouse rose 3p to 212p while Carlton dropped 14.5p to 769.5p.

This was in marked contrast to the departure of Mr Dworkin when Storehouse's shares fell 21p to 183p, knocking pounds 90m off the market value of the company. Mr Dworkin had turned around BhS before taking over the top job from Michael Julien. No successor had been chosen before his unexpected return to the US, and the market also worried that Ann Iverson, his appointment to run Mothercare, would follow him to America.

Storehouse said it had been looking for a strategist to take the group forward after its retrenchment over the past two years. A slump in profits had prompted the sale of the Conran, Habitat and Richards shops from the retail empire built up by the group's founder, Sir Terence Conran.

Mr Edelman said that for the time being he planned to continue the growth established since 1991. 'In the longer term, however, my role will be to think about what Storehouse wants to be,' he said. 'This is a very exciting job and an interesting juncture for the company.'

Mr Edelman said that Carlton was 'disappointed' that he was leaving after just two years in the job. He admitted that he had been attracted by the prospect of taking complete control of a company. At Carlton he had played second fiddle to the charismatic chairman Michael Green.

He added that he was looking forward to working in retail again. In seven years, he built Texas into one of the industry's most successful groups.

A former colleague said yesterday: 'He is a very able man, innately bright and very quick to understand business situations. He did a great job at Texas, getting it through the recession and the Gulf War.'

Last month Storehouse announced profits for the year to March up from pounds 16m to pounds 47m before an exceptional charge to cover the cost of selling Habitat and Richards. Expectations for the current year are around pounds 70m.

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