Former McKinsey advisor Nick Wilkinson new CEO of Dunelm

10 January 2018 2 min. read
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British homewares retailer Dunelm has appointed former McKinsey & Company consultant Nick Wilkinson as its new Chief Executive. Evans, who is also the previous CEO of Evans Cycles, and Maxeda DIY, replaces outgoing leader John Browett following a period of weak performance for Dunelm.

Wilkinson’s predecessor exited Dunelm in the summer of 2017, citing “personal reasons”, although his departure came amid sustained falls in share prices. Browett had run the company since January 2016, and his departure in August 2017 was greeted by the group’s share prices rising by a fifth. According to a company spokesperson, “the fit between his leadership and Dunelm culture was uneasy”, and, despite this minor rebound since his leaving, Dunelm’s prices were still down 13.7% at the end of 2017.

Importantly, the group unveiled a 9.3% climb in its fiscal first quarter like for like sales in October, helped by rapid growth in its online division and a comparison to a weak period in the previous year. However, Dunelm’s gross margin came under pressure thanks to a pricey acquisition of Worldstores, as well as a focus on “newness” among their latest ranges.

Nick Wilkinson

Nick Wilkinson will subsequently have his work cut out for him, when he formally takes up office on February 1st. However, the new appointee has a wealth of experience in retail and strategy management to draw on in order to help Dunelm with its efforts to improve performance. Having previously worked as a Brand Manager for five years at Unilever, Wilkinson joined McKinsey in 1994, spending four years as a consultant at the firm. Following this, and a seven year stint with Dixons Retail – where he latterly became Managing Director – Wilkinson joined Maxeda DIY as CEO in 2007. His most recent engagement came with Evans Cycles, who Wilkinson enjoyed a five year spell with, beginning in 2011.

In the same year, Nick Wilkinson also took up Trustee posts with two major UK charities. He joined The Pennies Foundation and Age UK, where he remains a Trustee and Non-Executive Director on the group’s Trading Community Interest Company to this day. He also holds a BA in History, obtained from the University of Cambridge.

Dunelm Chairman Andy Harrison said of the appointment, “We are confident that Nick’s proven business leadership and track record will help us to deliver our ambitious plans for growth in market share and creation of substantial value for shareholders.”