Mothercare reduces board size in cost-cutting drive

Troubled maternity and baby products retailer Mothercare has reduced the size of its board of directors and added more restructuring experts as part of its efforts to reverse a string of financial losses.

Speaking at a conference this week, CEO Mark Newton-Jones, who was ousted from the role and then re-hired a month later, said the board has now directors who are more hands-on with the company’s restructuring.

“We had a board that was of a scale appropriate for a much larger company,” he said at a Times CEO Summit panel. “We now have a board that is very operational and is contributing beyond governance.”

Mothercare had a tumultuous 2018, with Mark Newton-Jones fired from his role as CEO by chairman Alan Parker after the company released a set of disappointing results. David Wood, a former boss of US grocery group Kmart, was appointed as new chief executive but he didn’t hold the role for long, as the board announced a few weeks later that Newton-Jones was rejoining as CEO. Alan Parker stepped down as chairman during the tumult.

“It's not often in life there's an injustice followed by a justice, but in this instance I suppose I was quite fortunate,” Mark Newton-Jones said.

Last month, Mothercare released its financial results for the year ended 30 March, hailing its progress after launching a CVA, reorganising its corporate structure and cutting costs.

The company said that the board shakeup will halve its cost next year, and that it now works in a more cohesive way with the operating board.

Despite this, losses for the year widened by almost 20% to £87.3 million, while group revenues fell 7.9% to £1.07 billion.

The British retailer is now focusing on growing its online business and adding more exclusivity to its products.

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