No such luck, though, for Duncan Tatton-Brown who, with the unexpected resignation of Helen Weir as Kingfisher’s finance director, has been thrust into the public eye for the first time.
And it will not be the last. The former military man, with a penchant for rugby and cycling, has been moved into the spotlight whether he likes it or not.
Next February, Tatton-Brown, 38, will take over Weir’s position as FD at a company that bills itself as ‘Europe’s leading home improvement retailer’.
Among its stable of companies are B&Q, Comet, Woolworth’s and MVC – all high street names with large profiles.
For Tatton-Brown, who is married with three young children and lives in west London, promotion to such an exalted position is vindication of a drastic change in career.
After leaving school – he studied at several schools as the demands of his father’s military career meant house moves along the south coast – he went to King’s College, Cambridge.
Studying at the college founded by Henry VIII, and whose luminaries include novelist EM Forster and economist John Maynard Keynes, Tatton-Brown completed an electrical engineering degree.
From university it was a short jump into a career and Tatton-Brown followed in the family’s footsteps and joined the armed forces.
He served as a Royal Navy engineer before he jumped ship and decided upon a career in finance.
Time has shown that it was a good decision. From 1987 to 1990, Tatton-Brown worked for Rank Xerox before qualifying as a chartered management accountant. From there he moved to the Burton Group, which included department store Debenhams and Principles in its portfolio, and where he spent eight fruitful years.
In 1993, at the age of just 28, he became acting finance director while working at Burton Menswear.
Tatton-Brown also worked on the demerger of the group and later became finance director at Principles. In 1998, he made another move – this time to the Virgin Entertainment Group. There, he worked on the side of Richard Branson’s sprawling group that concentrated on Virgin’s megastores and cinema.
In the late 1990s, he worked on the £215m sale of Virgin cinemas to UGC and by 2001 he had moved to Kingfisher.
Currently, he is finance director of B&Q and will step up to his new position on 2 February next year.
Weir was on a remuneration package that totalled around £1.2m, so it is to be assumed that Tatton-Brown will be able to afford a new bike or two. No doubt, he will earn his money.
At the same time that Weir announced she was going to step down earlier this month, Kingfisher announced slowing sales growth for the third quarter of this year.
That is something to concentrate the mind when he takes up his new seat on the board next year.
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