Troubled lifestyle brand names new CEO

Jonathon Brown (Image: BGL Group)

Market Harborough-based lifestyle and fashion brand Joules has named its next CEO, with the news coming after incumbent Nick Jones signalled his intention to step down earlier this year amid plummeting profits.

Jonathon Brown will join the group as CEO designate on 7 September before formally replacing Jones in the hot seat on the 30th.

Brown began his career in marketing with the likes of Schroders, British Airways and Coca-Cola before going on to hold senior positions at Aviva, Kingfisher and John Lewis.

He has also been CEO of MandM Direct and COO of Photobox Group – which counts Moonpig amongst its brands – and was was most recently CEO of Compare the Market.

The announcement follows a turbulent period for Joules, which saw its share price drop to new lows in July on the back of the news that it was bringing in KPMG to help boost its cash reserves.

The firm is currently in talks with fellow Leicestershire retailer Next which could see the larger Market Harborough firm take a 25% equity stake in the brand worth around £15m.

Joules’ share price has since rebounded.

Jonathon Brown said: “I am delighted to have been selected to lead Joules at such an important time in its development. Joules is a very strong brand, with a highly relevant purpose and product proposition. The Group’s digitalisation in recent years as well as its increased customer base mean it has very solid foundations for the future.

“Whilst there have been some headwinds in the past year, I am very excited by the business’ future opportunities. The Group is making strong progress against its clear plans to improve profitability by simplifying the business and optimising the cost base. I look forward to working closely with the Joules team to return the business to sustainable, profitable growth and optimise the significant future opportunities available to us.”

Ian Filby, non-executive chairman of Joules, added: “The Board was in unanimous agreement that, amongst some very high calibre candidates, Jonathan was the standout choice to be our new CEO. He has significant experience across the retail and digital industries, a proven track-record of delivering business transformation, and the vision and ambition to lead Joules through the next stages of its development. The Board has every confidence in him, and we look forward to working closely together over the coming years.

“I would again like to place on record the Group’s thanks to Nick for his contributions during his time with Joules, and in particular his continued outstanding commitment and drive over recent months. Under Nick’s leadership Joules has made good progress against its strategy to develop as a digital-led lifestyle group and, more recently, he has spearheaded the implementation of several important strategic initiatives that the Board believes will underpin the Group’s future success.”