Every dog has his day, so the saying goes, and it’s fair to say Nick Wood has had a pretty good time at Pets at Home. Though its IPO back in 2014 was disappointing, Wood has since overseen a solid run of sales growth and a 19% increase in its share price.
But now he’s moving on to pastures new. ‘It has been a privilege to lead Pets at Home for four years, but after over 8 years working in the North West, and with my children growing up fast, I feel the time is right for me to be based in London with my family,’ he said. Presumably they live on the Isle of Dogs. Or in Catford. As well as the kids, Wood will be joining his two bichon frises, Oscar and Louis, and hamster Snuggles.
Under pressure from online-only retailers, in his three and a half years as top dog the company has shifted its focus to expanding its services division. In 2013 it acquired Vets4Pets, a 94-strong chain of veterinary practices, and in January it bought Anderson Moores, a Winchester-based animal hospital. It now has a total of around 360 vets and 205 in-store pet grooming stations. In the last three months of 2015, group revenues were up 7.1% to £295m thanks to a thumping 27.4% jump in services revenue – though services still make up just one tenth of total sales.
Wood will be replaced by the company’s current FD Ian Kellett, whose dogs ‘Max the weimaraner and Zico the viszla’ (pictured) sound like extras from a mafia movie. ‘Ian has a strong vision for the group based on his experience over ten years with Pets at Home in both financial and operational roles and I am confident he will continue to provide excellent leadership to the group,’ said chairman Tony DeNunzio. Time will tell if he's the right man for the job or just barking up the wrong tree.