Corbett given top job at Kingfisher

Corbett is to head Woolworths and entertainment businesses EUK, MVC and Streets online, overseeing this sector’s demerger from the rest of Kingfisher’s businesses, which specialises in DIY and electrical retailing.

‘Woolworths is a fine company,’ said Corbett in a statement, ‘it has a great heritage, a place at the heart of the community, strong market positions and an excellent track record.’

Woolworth’s current chief executive Martin Toogood and deputy chief executive and FD Philip Rowley will be leaving Kingfisher.

Corbett resigned from Railtrack in November 2000 following the Hatfield crash, in which four people were killed and over 30 were injured. The crash sparked off a series of delays wreaking havoc for commuters and making Corbett highly unpopular in the public eye.

Corbett, who became chief of Railtrack in 1997, was finance director of Grand Metropolitan before it became Diageo. He was also group finance controller and corporate FD at Dixons. His was educated at Cambridge University, the London Business School and Harvard Business School.

The retailer announced its intention to separate its general merchandise subsidiaries, which include Woolworths and Superdrug, from its DIY and electrical retailing businesses in September. The plans have so far not been well received and the appointment of Corbett is seen as way of bolstering confidence in the proposals.

Kingfisher intends to sell Superdrug ‘in order to achieve best value for shareholders’. It plans to float Woolworths and entertainment businesses on the stock exchange in the second quarter of this year. According to a Kingfisher spokesman, the sale of Superdrug is not expected to have an impact on the flotation.


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