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Mothercare recruits new CFO from Rexam

MOTHERCARE has recruited Rexam group finance director Richard Smothers to replace incumbent Matt Smith, who is joining Debenhams.

Smothers will join the baby clothing retailer as chief financial officer on March 23 after stepping down from company Rexam, where he has been FD since 2011.

He spent 14 years at Tesco in a number of senior finance roles, including finance director (Asia), CFO Tesco Lotus (in Thailand) and finance director for UK operations, having earlier held various positions at Cargill.

Smothers joins the retailer in the midst of a turnaround plan, which has involved a £100m rights issue in order to fund store closures and refurbishments as it attempts to return its UK business to profitability.

Commenting on the appointment, Mark Newton-Jones, CEO, said: “Richard has a wealth of experience having worked for multi-billion pound global businesses and his financial and commercial expertise will be extremely valuable as we implement our strategy to transform and modernise our business.”

Mothercare has struggled to compete with cheaper supermarkets and issued a profit warning in January before later becoming the target of a takeover attempt by US rival Destination Maternity.

The £266m takeover bid was dropped in July on the same day that Matt Smith resigned as CFO with Destination Maternity citing a lack of support for the deal from Mothercare’s board and shareholders.

Last month, Mothercare revealed that losses from its UK stores narrowed to £13.5m, compared with £14.9m last year, while the overall group reported pre-tax profits of £5.5m in the six months to 11 October, compared with an £11m loss last year.

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