Bury-based FTSE 100 retailer JD Sports Fashion Plc announced on Tuesday that French businessman Régis Schultz has been appointed as the company’s new chief executive officer.
Schultz will join JD Sports from Al-Futtaim Group, the Dubai-based conglomerate.
On May 25, JD Sports said executive chairman Peter Cowgill would step down from his role with immediate effect amid a push for stronger governance at the firm as it accelerated the separation of the roles of chair and chief executive officer.
Kath Smith became interim CEO and then JD Sports hired former Morrisons boss Andy Higginson as its chair.
On Tuesday, JD Sports said: “It is expected that Régis will join JD in September at which time Kath Smith will undertake a full handover of her duties to Régis during a short transitionary period.
“Kath will then resume her former role as senior independent director on the board.
“Régis brings with him a wealth of retail experience as CEO, including of a UK-listed retail business, and across retail categories including home, fashion, electrical sporting goods and food.
“In particular, he has a strong track record of effecting transformational change through digitisation, driving multi-channel growth strategies and working across international markets.
“He will join from Al-Futtaim Group, the Dubai-based conglomerate which is partner to many of the world’s most high-profile companies across automotive, retail, financial services, real estate and health sectors, and where he has been President of Retail since 2019.
“The retail division has helped to launch and build world class brands, including Zara, IKEA, Hugo Boss, M&S and Lacoste and operates in Middle East, Asia and North Africa.
“In addition, Régis has more than a decade’s experience acting as chief executive of major retail businesses.
“Prior to joining Al-Futtaim, he was CEO of Monoprix, France’s leading city-centre food and fashion retailer that is part of Groupe Casino.
“During his time there he launched and executed a new digital strategy, signed a partnership with Amazon, concluded the first international partnership with Ocado and concluded the acquisition of an online shoes’ pure player.”
JD Sports chair Andrew Higginson said: “The board has taken this opportunity to conduct a truly global search to find the right candidate to lead JD on the next stage in its development.
“Régis brings exactly the characteristics we were looking for.
“He is a retailer through and through with experience across all types of retail formats.
“He has also delivered transformational change through digitisation in a number of his roles.
“Finally, he has significant international experience which will be very important as he works with myself and our senior team to execute on our growth strategy. We very much look forward to Régis joining us.”
Schultz said: “JD has consistently proven itself to be one of the most successful operators of multi-brand retail formats in the world.
“We are committed to going deeper in the international development of our brands applying our experience and executional expertise and further enhancing our market leading multi-channel customer experience.
“I am very excited to be joining the group and look forward to working with the team to deliver on the growth opportunities.”
JD Sports added: “Prior to Monoprix Regis was widely credited with revitalising the LSE-listed retail group, Darty PLC (2013-2016) until its sale to FNAC and BUT where he delivered significant strategic change, re-energising and repositioning the business.
“Régis held senior positions in the UK at Kingfisher Plc, including as Strategy Director and Executive Committee member and as Chief Financial Officer, Commercial Director and Chief Operating Officer of B&Q.
“Régis started his career in 1997 as a Financial Director in a division of the Pernod-Ricard Group, before moving to Castorama Group as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer.”