Morrisons takes on new HR director

By Nicholas Robinson

- Last updated on GMT

Morrisons' new executive board is putting the retailer 'back on track', City analysts claim
Morrisons' new executive board is putting the retailer 'back on track', City analysts claim

Related tags Generally accepted accounting principles

Morrisons, Britain’s second largest fresh food manufacturer and fourth largest retailer, has appointed Clare Grainger as its new group human resources (HR) director.

Grainger, who was Morrisons’ interim group retail director, has 25 years’ experience in HR and management and previously worked for Asda.

Grainger helped to recruit more than 5,000 new staff as part of the company’s plans to improve its customers’ shopping trips, Morrisons said.

The announcement of Grainger’s new role, which she will take up in September, followed two new appointments to Morrisons’ executive committee.

New commercial director

Darren Blackhurst, who joined from B&Q, will head the company’s trading and manufacturing sector as Morrisons’ new commercial director.

Gary Mills, who joined the company last week from Tesco, is Morrisons’ new group retail director.

David Potts, Morrisons ceo, said: “Clare is a hard-working and talented director who passionately represents our people at every level.

“She has done a great job of leading our stores and now her focus will move to ensuring we grow, develop and attract the best talent to support our turnaround.”

Potts’s recent appointments received praise from Shore Capital analysts Clive Black and Darren Shirley​, who said the changes were key to putting the retailer firmly back on the road to recovery.

‘No shrinking violet’

“Thankfully, from a Morrisons’ shareholder perspective, it is clear that Mr Potts is no shrinking violet,” ​they said.

“It’s a view supported by the extensive and prompt change in senior executives and the material reduction in the central overhead base of the company in the period under consideration.”

Potts had taken control of the retailer since his appointment earlier this year, they added.

As a result, they repeated their full-year current pre-tax profit expectation of £300M–£260M after deducting £40M in one-off costs and earnings per share of 9.6p.

Shore Capital forecasts for Morrisons

  • First half like-for-like sales, ex-fuel and ex-VAT and including online, forecast to be down by 2.4%
  • Price investment introduced in the second half of the financial year 2015 expected to follow through into the second half of financial year 2016
  • Some benefit from the central overhead initiatives to emerge in the second half, while the higher in-store labour participation rates should also follow through
  • First half earnings before interest and tax in first-quarter trading to be £187M
  • Full year net debt of £2bn, down £330M year-on-year, reflecting strong progress in working capital management and the disposal of secondary properties
  • Current pre-tax profit for financial year 2016 of £300M so down 13% year-on-year, equating to profit before tax of £260M

Related topics Ambient foods Bakery

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