Footwear insiders have claimed that poor trading at Clarks is the cause for the surprise exits of Chief Executive Melissa Potter, a Clarks lifer, and Chief Financial Officer Robin Beacham. One highstreet footwear boss said that it’s surprising to say the least, “To exit your CEO and CFO so precipitously is odd and must indicate that trade is not great and the board feels the leadership is not taking the company in the direction they want.” Clarks stockists have claimed that the Clarks family are dissatisfied with the retailer’s current performance with permanent discounts due to tough retail. However, is a tough year for retail and shoes in particular a satisfactory reason to replace an experienced duo? Clarks last week commented that new leadership will help them overcome “increasing competition and intensified customer expectations” and help fulfill its potential as a global leader in footwear.
Clarks have said that their search for a new leader is a priority. In the meantime, Thomas O’Neill will lead the business as Executive Chairman until a replacement for Potter is appointed. Group Financial Controller Mike Coley has been made interim CFO.