Card Factory appoints Willson-Rymer as CEO

Wakefield-based greeting card and gift retailer Card Factory plc on Monday announced the appointment of Darcy Willson-Rymer as chief executive officer.

Willson-Rymer will join Card Factory from Costcutter Supermarkets, where he has served as CEO for the last eight years.

Card Factory shares were trading down about 12% on Monday, having fallen about 75% in the past 12 months.

Card Factory’s biggest shareholder is Switzerland-based activist investor Teleios Capital Partners with a stake of about 19.5%.

“During his time at Costcutter, Darcy successfully steered a nationwide multi-site owned and franchised convenience retail business through a period of significant change, including the development of a new operating model, introduction of a data and insights led business growth programme that realised a 20% sales uplift, and led the brand transformation of Costcutter,” said Card Factory.

“Prior to this, Darcy was CEO of Clinton Cards plc from 2011 to 2012.

“Before joining Clinton Cards, Darcy held a range of roles in international branded businesses, including Managing Director (UK & Ireland) of Starbucks Coffee Company; and senior roles at Yum Restaurants International, including Operations Director of KFC Great Britain; and Director of Operations and Franchise, Europe, KFC and Pizza Hut.

“Darcy will join the company on 8 March 2021, following expiry of his notice period.

“Paul Moody’s appointment as executive chairman will end when Darcy joins the business, at which time Paul will revert to his role as non-executive chairman.”

Moody said: “I am delighted to announce that Darcy is joining Card Factory as our CEO.

“Darcy has excellent credentials and experience to lead Card Factory through the next phase of our evolution and to continue to lead the implementation of the refreshed strategy.

“He has experienced successfully leading a complex, multi-site retail business in Costcutter, held senior positions in two customer service-centred global branded businesses in Starbucks and Yum, in particular, where he led a business with an operating model encompassing both owned and franchised units.

“Darcy brings highly relevant knowledge and experience that will hugely benefit Card Factory.”

Willson-Rymer said: “As a long-standing admirer of Card Factory, I am thrilled to be able to lead the business through the next phase of its growth journey.

“Working with the team at Card Factory, my ambition is to unlock the true potential of the business by delivering its transformation strategy in the UK and internationally.”

Willson-Rymer will receive an annual salary of £450,000 and a cash payment in lieu of employer pension contributions of 3% of salary above the lower earnings limit — currently £6,240 per annum.

He will participate in the annual bonus scheme up to a maximum participation of 125% of salary and will be entitled to restricted share awards under the company’s long term incentive plan with an annual award of up to a maximum of 87.5% of salary.

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Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.