Retail: Veronique Laury to succeed Sir Ian Cheshire as Kingfisher boss

Veronique Laury, who is to be the new chief executive of Kingfisher.

Veronique Laury, who is to be the new chief executive of Kingfisher. - Credit: PA

The ranks of female bosses in the FTSE 100 index are to be boosted with a change of leadership at Britain’s biggest DIY chain.

Sir Ian Cheshire, who has run B&Q and Screwfix owner Kingfisher for seven years, is to be replaced by the boss of the company’s French arm, Castorama.

Veronique Laury, who has worked at Kingfisher for 11 years, will take over as chief executive at the end of January. She will join Royal Mail’s Moya Greene, Carolyn McCall of easyJet, Alison Cooper of Imperial Tobacco and Liv Garfield of Severn Trent as female bosses at FTSE 100 companies.

The management change was announced as Kingfisher posted flat half-year profits of £364million on sales of £5.77billion in the six months to August 2.

The performance was affected by the slowing economy and housing market in France, although in the UK and Ireland conditions were more favourable as like-for-like sales rose 4.4% and retail profit lifted 17.7% to £166m.

Kingfisher is Europe’s leading home improvement retail group and the third largest in the world, with 1,157 stores in ten countries in Europe and Asia.

Sir Ian has overseen a 23% increase in sales in his seven years in charge, with adjusted profits doubling and its stock market value rising by £3.8bn.

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Sir Ian, who received a knighthood in the New Year’s Honours List, said he had met his aim of delivering a “step change” in the value of the business.

He added: “Having taken over the leadership role in the depths of the financial crisis I am proud that the Kingfisher of today is a much stronger business, with a more profitable and sustainable model.”