Activist investor joins retailer’s board after shaky Christmas period

The Works has appointed two non-independent non-executive directors (NED) from its activist investor Kelso.

John Goold is Chief Executive Officer and Mark Kirkland is Chief Financial Officer at Kelso and will be joining the board to focus on shareholder value and “restore the intrinsic valuation of The Works, which we believe is much higher than the current share price reflects”.

It comes after the books and stationery retailer reported an adjusted EBITDA loss of £8.5m (H1 2023 – £6.4m) following a challenging Christmas period.

Goold has had a 25 year career in London raising growth capital and advising small and mid cap companies. During this time he has raised more than £5bn for clients, much of which was while he was Chief Executive of Zeus from 2012 to 2021. He is currently a NED of Oncimmune and Boohoo.

Kirkland qualified as a chartered accountant with PwC and has gained extensive corporate experience over 30 years, having held numerous senior roles in public and private companies. He previously was CEO of Delin Property, a pan European Logistics developer, investor and manager. Kirkland is currently a NED at Strix Group and AEW UK REIT and previously an adviser to DP World.

Kelso took a 3.2% stake in the value retailer in September 2023 and in October announced a holding of 5.1%.

Launched in late 2022, Kelso looks to invest in stock market-listed companies where it identifies “an anomaly” between the intrinsic value and the stock market valuation.

Its other investment is in technology and ecommerce specialist, THG, committing £5m in two tranches.

Carolyn Bradley, Chair of The Works, said: “I am pleased to welcome John and Mark to the Board following Kelso’s investment in The Works last year. They bring extensive corporate and operational experience at Board level and will be an asset to The Works as we continue to deliver our ‘Better, not just Bigger’ strategy. We are grateful for their ongoing support and look forward to working together to drive shareholder value.”

John Goold and Mark Kirkland jointly stated: “We have long believed that The Works has a strong customer proposition, a broad range of products with plenty of appeal and an important focus on affordability. By joining the Board we can bring our experience, particularly working with listed small cap businesses, to drive shareholder value.

“We are supportive of both management and the strategic direction of the business and look forward to helping to restore the intrinsic valuation of The Works, which we believe is much higher than the current share price reflects.”