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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Daniel O'Boyle

Matalan looks to supermarket sector with new CEO and chairman appointments

Discountfashion retailer Matalan has turned to the supermarket sector to fill its top two posts, appointing former Lidl CEO Karl-Heinz Holland as its new chairman and Jo Whitfield, previously in charge of Co-op Food, as CEO.

Holland was CEO of Lidl from 2008 to 2014, leaving due to "unbridgeable" differences with the board when it came to future strategy. Since 2021, he has been chair of European discount fashion business Takko Fashion, and he will continue in that role alongside his duties at Matalan.

Whitfield oversaw a business that brought in revenue of £10.8bn in 2021 at the Co-op, and was also Matalan’s head of finance from 2002 to 2008. She will replace Nigel Oddy, who had been interim CEO, on 31 March.

Holland said he felt there was a large amount of unrealised potential in the Matalan business.

“I have been a long-standing admirer of Matalan and believe it’s a business brimming with potential,” he said. “I am very much looking forward to working with the new owners, Jo, and its dedicated workforce, to help it achieve its potential.”

Whitfield, meanwhile, focused on the modernisation process that she hoped to guide the retailer through.

“I am delighted to be joining and leading the business through its next exciting phase of growth and modernisation,” she said. “Matalan is a much-loved brand for its 11 million loyal customers and together with colleagues we will work to strengthen our offer and ensure we give them the great product and value that they and their families need.

“There are exciting times ahead for all of us that work in the business as we transform Matalan for the future.”

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