Credit: Derek Harper/Geograph

B&Q's new boss is a Danish supermarket veteran

Can Michael Loeve turn the struggling DIY chain around?

by Jack Torrance
Last Updated: 23 Mar 2016

Kingfisher announced today that it's found a replacement for Kevin O'Byrne, the former chief exec of B&Q who left as part of a management shakeup by new group CEO Veronique Laury back in March. Michael Loeve will take up his new role in September after leaving his current gig as retail director of supermarket group Coop Danmark, which is Denmark's largest retailer.

'I am delighted to welcome Michael to Kingfisher,' Laury said. 'He is an experienced retailer who will form an important part of the new diverse international team we are putting together.'

Being a grocer, Loeve might seem like an odd choice – smørrebrød and screwdrivers have little in common – but perhaps what B&Q needs is someone with a fresh perspective. Once one of Britain's most successful retailer, the chain has been struggling for some time now.

A new generation of consumers, who lack both DIY skills and the ability to buy their own home, have sent its sales figures into decline. In March Laury announced it would be shutting 60 of its 360 UK stores in a bid to shore up profits. A foray into the Chinese market didn't work out so well either.

But it seems Loeve is confident – or at least whoever writes B&Q's spin-laden press releases would like us to think so. 'With a better and more unique offer at good prices where customer needs come first, all backed by the scale of a unified Kingfisher, we will transform and grow B&Q, helping our customers to have better homes and better lives,' he is quoted as saying. And of course we all want 'more unique' offers and better lives don't we.

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