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Go-Ahead Group CFO goes on to Dunelm

THE CFO of Go-Ahead Group is to take on the same role at homeware retailer Dunelm.

Keith Down, who has served with the rail and bus operator since 2011, takes up the Dunelm role at the end of the year, with long-serving finance chief David Stead stepping down after a short handover period.

Prior to joining Go-Ahead, Down served as CFO of JD Wetherspoon. He had held senior finance roles at Tesco, having qualified as a chartered accountant with KPMG.

In an interview with Financial Director last year, Down described himself as a “general manager/director who happens to have a specialism in finance”. “Nowadays, all finance directors absolutely have to have a tinge of commerciality,” he added.

His appointment comes as Dunelm has released its fourth quarter and year-end trading update. Its stores have seen modest sales growth, up 3.4% (£674.8m) for the year to 27 June 2015, while home delivery has shot up 55% – albeit as a much smaller part of the business at £50.3m. Its gross margin has been eroded over the period, by 0.2%.

Dunelm, which operates with 154 stores, has another eight openings in the pipeline. It has also launched a new website.

Andy Harrison, chairman of Dunelm, said: “Keith brings us a wealth of experience of financial management in retail and other consumer-facing industries. His drive, experience and character will make a significant contribution to our growth, and will provide high quality support to John Browett who, as recently announced, will assume the role of CEO in January 2016 and who has been fully involved in Keith’s appointment.”

Down said: “I am excited about the challenge of joining Dunelm at the start of this new chapter in its growth, and look forward to working with the Dunelm team.”

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