Dobbies confirms John Cleland as new CEO

The new owners of Dobbies Garden Centres, Midlothian Capital Partners and Hattington Capital, have named John Cleland as ceo.

He will replace outgoing chief executive Andy King, who has agreed to stay with the business as a strategic adviser to the board.

John brings 30 years of leadership experience in retail and consumer businesses. His expertise has been built across food and non-food categories in the UK and abroad.

Most recently he held the post of ceo of Maplin Electronics, where he led the four-year repositioning of the business and its subsequent sale.
Prior to this his roles have included ceo of Esporta Health and Fitness, Somerfield chief operating officer. commercial director of B&Q, senior vice president operations of WalMart Japan, retail md of Asda stores and director of buying of Asda stores.

Andrew Bracey of Midlothian Capital and Barney Burgess of Hattington Capital introduced John to his new colleagues at the Dobbies headquarters in Edinburgh yesterday (Tuesday, July 12). They also thanked the outgoing chief executive Andy King for his contribution to the business.

Barney Burgess commented: “As one of Britain’s leading garden centre businesses, it’s great news for Dobbies that John is joining as ceo.

“He will play a pivotal role in the future Dobbies success story. We’re looking forward to supporting him as he leads the business through its next phase of growth.”

Andrew Bracey added: “We’re delighted that John is coming to Dobbies. It’s an iconic brand with a great legacy and a bright future. We also want to publicly recognise the role of Andy King who has been a great steward of Dobbies, and will remain with us as a strategic adviser.”

Andy said: “It’s been a privilege to be chief executive of Dobbies for the past three years. The energy and enthusiasm of colleagues and customers make this a great place to work. I wish the new owners and John Cleland the very best in growing Dobbies and look forward to my new advisory position.”

In June, Tesco confirmed the sale of Dobbies Garden Centres to a group of investors led by Midlothian Capital Partners Limited and Hattington Capital LLP, supported by a number of additional equity investors, including family offices and individual investors, for £217m on a cash and debt-free basis.

Dobbies is the second largest garden retailer in the UK with 34 garden centres across Scotland, England and Northern Ireland – with select product available online for UK-wide sales.

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