Seb James steps down as Dixons Carphone CEO

Dixons Carphone’s charismatic CEO Seb James is stepping down after six years in the job. With Alex Baldock already lined up to replace James in April, the outgoing CEO is set to join Walgreens Boots Alliance.

Baldock is currently the CEO of Shop Direct, the UK’s second largest pure-play online retailer.

He has held that position since 2012 and there is plenty of cross-over between Shop Direct and Dixons Carphone in terms of product points. As much as 35 per cent of Shop Direct’s business is selling electricals and they also sell mobiles like Apple and Samsung. In fact, Dixons Carphone has grown mobile at Shop Direct to 69 per cent of online sales.

Baldock also has plenty of experience in financial services from his time as MD of Lombard and with Shop Direct’s consumer credit business. Dixons Carphone have been growing their consumer finance business and have also talked about leasing models so Baldock’s experience will again be useful here.

Excited to get started Alex Baldock said: “I can’t wait to get started at Dixons Carphone. Seb and the team have achieved an extraordinary amount, not least reinforcing Dixons Carphone’s position as a leading electrical and mobile retailer in Europe at a time of wrenching change. It’s with great excitement that I look forward to getting to know the people and the customers at Dixons Carphone, and to building on these achievements. Dixons Carphone is exceptionally well-placed to help customers navigate the complex, fast-changing world of technology and mobile, and I feel privileged that Ian and the Board have asked me to lead the Group to make the most of that opportunity.”

Meanwhile, James added: “It has been an enormous privilege to lead this business and to work with such passionate and committed colleagues over the last few years. Together, I think that we can be very proud of the profound transformation that we have seen in Dixons Carphone and the sound footing, customer affection, and place in the world that it now enjoys. I offer my most sincere thanks to Ian, the Board and my colleagues for their support and friendship over these years. I will be very sad to leave, tempered only by the fact that I know that Alex will do a terrific job of leading the company and driving it on to new heights.”

It is the latest change of Dixons Carphone with a number of high-profile incomings and outgoings in recent months. Earlier this month Humphrey Singer announced that he was standing down as finance director, with Dixons Carphone yet to announce a replacement. A month earlier, the company announced that it was appointing a new chairman of its Carphone Warehouse arm, as it looks to shake up its mobile division. Stepping down in his role as deputy CEO and board director of the company, Andrew Harrison assumed the role of chairman of The Carphone Warehouse Limited with immediate effect.

Ian Livingston, Chairman of Dixons Carphone plc, added: “Seb has made an outstanding contribution to both the creation and success of Dixons Carphone. It is a much stronger company today than when he became CEO of Dixons Retail in 2012 with revenue, profit and customer satisfaction all substantially higher. The Group is now the market leader in eight countries. On behalf of the Board and all our colleagues, I would like to thank Seb for all that he has done over the past six years as CEO of first Dixons Retail and now Dixons Carphone. We wish him every success in his new role.”

He added: “The Board and I are delighted to welcome Alex Baldock to the Group. He has an outstanding track record in leading large, complex consumer-facing businesses. He’s led Shop Direct through one of UK Retail’s fastest, most far-reaching and most successful digital transformations, delivering five consecutive years of record financial performance, with strongly rising sales and an almost tenfold increase in profits.

“We wanted Alex for his strategic clarity, relentless execution and his ability to inspire people to get behind him at every step. We look forward to Alex bringing that leadership to the Group as we build on our market-leading positions.”

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