Home Retail Group has announced that chief executive John Walden will step down from his leadership role of the Group and its principal business, Argos, upon completion of the proposed acquisition of the Group by Sainsbury’s.
The transaction is expected to complete in the third quarter, subject to both shareholder and regulatory approvals.
He joined the Group in February 2012, initially as managing director of Argos and was subsequently promoted to chief executive of the Group in March 2014.
John Walden said: “I believe the acquisition of the Group by Sainsbury’s is in the best interests of our customers, colleagues and shareholders. However this impending transaction, together with the recent sale of the Homebase business, presents the opportunity for me to reassess the next stage in my career. I have huge affection for both Argos and the Group, so it is with mixed emotions that I will be stepping down from my role to pursue new career opportunities once the acquisition completes.
“I’m tremendously proud of the scale of the transformation that we have delivered over the past four years. Since the introduction of the Argos Transformation Plan in 2012, with an ambition to reinvent the company as a digital retail leader, Argos has quickly built market-leading digital capabilities and a more innovative culture, and repositioned itself for an exciting future.
“Working with my colleagues on this journey has been the highlight of my career. I would like to thank them for their commitment and support. I wish both Argos and Sainsbury’s great success in realizing the exciting potential of the combined business.”
Home Retail Group chairman John Coombe added: “On behalf of the Group, I would like extend our thanks to John for what he has achieved over the last four years. As a result of Argos’ digital transformation strategy and Homebase’s productivity programme, we created the options to develop the businesses for the future and deliver a good outcome for shareholders, via the sale of Homebase and the proposed acquisition of the remaining Group by Sainsbury’s.
“John has been instrumental in providing the leadership and drive to achieve this outcome. He will continue to provide that leadership through to the completion of the proposed transaction and we wish him well for the future.”