Wolseley starts search for successor to boss Ian Meakins

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Wolseley, the world’s biggest plumbing and heating supplies company, has begun searching for a new chief executive to replace current boss Ian Meakins, the Evening Standard has learned.

The FTSE 100 giant’s board has quietly started succession planning for the boss who has overseen a major transformation in the group he has run since his arrival in 2009.

The hunt is in its early stages and Wolseley is not expecting to reveal a replacement until the new year.

When Meakins, 60 this month, started in the job, Wolseley was suffering from the results of an over-ambitious expansion programme under previous chief Chip Hornsby and the collapse in the US housing market. 

Hornsby resigned suddenly a few months after the company was forced to go back to investors to raise £1 billion following major losses.

Meakins, also a director at British Gas owner Centrica, sold off businesses in Ireland and Europe to reduce costs at the company, whose headquarters are in Switzerland for tax reasons. 


He then replaced its finance director with John Martin, the FD he worked with at his previous job running Travelex. 

He went on to scale back its branches including the Bathstore, Plumb Centre and Build Centre chains.

The restructuring, along with a dramatic improvement in the construction markets in the US and Europe, has seen the share price rocket nearly fourfold, from around 1134p to 4308p today. 

Wolseley’s board wants to ensure a smooth succession for the next stage in its growth.

Meakins was chief executive of Alliance Unichem in the early 2000s but when it merged with Boots he lost out on the top job to Boots boss Richard Baker. 

He was shortlisted for the job of running Morrisons before being pipped by Marc Bolland, now running Marks & Spencer. Instead, he went to Travelex.

Source Article from http://www.standard.co.uk/business/wolseley-starts-search-for-successor-to-boss-ian-meakins-a2918446.html

August 21, 2015 |
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