Jim Smart was appointed as Boots CFO this morning – only to find out that in
a few months he will have to stand down when the high street chemist completes
its £7bn merger with Alliance Unichem.
Smart, who joined Boots as group financial controller in 2003, has been
Boots’ acting CFO since March 2005 and has now been promoted to the board as
Smart, however, will only hold the position for a year at the most, as
Alliance Unichem group finance director George Fairweather is poised to takeover
as the finance head of the merged group, which will be known as Alliance Boots.
A Boots spokeswoman said that Smart had been appointed because the merger
would only be completed in the second half of next year, and Boots would be
operating as normal until then.
‘Jim has been standing in since Howard Dodd left and the message is that it
is business as usual at Boots until the merger is complete,’ the spokeswoman
said, adding that Smart’s future role within Alliance Boots would be decided
‘closer to the time’.
Smart has a busy few months ahead of him. He will not only have to play a
role in reversing the flagging high street retailer’s fortunes, but will also
have to oversee the £1.5bn sale of Boots Health International.
Meanwhile, the creation of Alliance Boots will see either KPMG, the auditors
of Boots, or Deloitte, Alliance Unichem’s auditors, lose a FTSE100 audit client
when the two groups join.
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