McDonald to be new Halfords chief


Published: Monday 23rd March 2015 by The News Editor

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The head of McDonald’s UK is to swap burgers and fries for bicycles and car parts after being poached to become the next chief executive of Halfords.

Jill McDonald will take over in May following the departure of Matt Davies, who has been lured to Tesco to become boss of its UK operations.

Mr Davies had only taken over in October 2012 following a profit warning that sparked the departure of his predecessor, David Wild, earlier that year.

Ms McDonald will be paid £500,000 basic pay, plus a maximum annual bonus worth 150% of her salary. She will also be entitled to participate in a performance share plan worth up to 150% of salary.

In addition she will be compensated for the loss of long-term share incentives at McDonald’s by being granted stock worth £495,000 over the next three years.

Halfords chairman Dennis Millard said: “When the board began a search for a new CEO we were clear that we were looking for an outstanding business leader.

“We are delighted to have recruited Jill, who has a strong track record of heading a large, complex, service-led business with great success.”

Ms McDonald said: “Halfords is a business and brand that resonates with me and the UK public and I am delighted to be joining the company.”

The new boss has previously worked at Colgate Palmolive and British Airways, where she became head of global marketing, before joining McDonald’s in 2006.

She was appointed to her current role as UK chief executive and president for north west Europe in 2010 – overseeing 3,300 owned and franchised restaurants in seven countries, and more than 200,000 staff.

Mr Davies was reported to be “genuinely gutted” to be leaving Halfords after Britain’s biggest supermarket came calling.

Annual profits had turned higher, boosted by surging bike sales, amid a three-year investment programme to upgrade stores.

Latest half-year results showed underlying profits grew 10.8% to £49.4 million in the six months to September 26 while Halfords’ latest trading update in the 15 weeks to January 9 showed like-for-like sales up 6.7%.

Halfords employs around 11,000 people at 468 stores in the UK and Ireland and at more than 300 Autocentres.

Shares have risen by two-thirds since Mr Davies’s appointment in October 2012. They edged lower today.

Lewis Sturdy, dealer at London Capital Group, said: “Halfords investors will wait for the new CEO to bring home the bacon before cheering the appointment of McDonalds UK boss to replace Matt Davies who checked out for Tesco.

“The good news is that in Jill McDonald, formerly of McDonalds, Halfords is gaining someone who has the customer-is-king culture at heart, essential if Halfords is to continue its bike-led revival in the face of renewed price competition.”

Published: Monday 23rd March 2015 by The News Editor

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