CEO Simon Calver Leaves Mothercare | Hannington Tame
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Simon Calver had been forced to resign from his CEO position

It was recently announced that Simon Calver had been forced to resign from his position as CEO of Mothercare, with a £300,000 payout. After just two years at Mothercare, with no explicit reasons as to his departure, speculation is rife. Does the demise of his tenure as CEO indicate that the board had mislaid expectations?

Hiring someone to drive ecommerce does not mean that a company has suddenly found a pancea to all its other problems. It may be a nice short term story for the city, but it will quickly become apparent that having problems with huge debt burdens, poor merchandising and expensive leases will not be fixed by strengthening online channels in isolation. An innate understanding of the bigger picture in the retail landscape, in addition to knowledge of multi-channel could well have led to a different outcome.

For those retailers facing a similar leap, this should be noted as a lesson from which to draw the right conclusions. That is that ecommerce needs to be properly supported by and complementary to business as usual, not some philosopher’s stone that will turn base metal into gold.

A multi-channel approach is vital to the success of any retailer in 2014. However, it is not a miracle silo. It needs to be an integral part of a company – something that understands and is understood by every level in the company, from the shop floor to the chairman.

It remains to be seen how this will be achieved, but with former Shop Direct boss Mark Newton-Jones having been named as CEO for the interim period, the retail world will be watching.

James Minter

James Minter is a partner at Hannington Tame, the digital CEO and C-Suite headhunting specialist.


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