Electricals retailer Currys sparks search to replace Livingston as chairman

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Currys, Britain’s biggest electrical goods retailer, is kicking off a hunt for a new chairman.

Sky News has learnt that the £1.2bn chain has engaged headhunters to identify a successor to Lord Livingston of Parkhead, who has held the role since 2015.

City sources said this week that the process was at a preliminary stage and that a change of chairman was unlikely to take place until next year at the earliest.

Ian Livingston - UK Parliament official portraits 2017
Lord Livingston of Parkhead
Lord Livingston of Parkhead

The commencement of the search so far in advance of the leadership transition reflects a shift in the boardrooms of Britain’s biggest listed companies as they grapple with what many directors say are greater challenges in recruiting suitable candidates.

Korn Ferry is said to be involved in the Currys chairmanship search.

News of the process comes just weeks after Currys chief executive Alex Baldock said that trading conditions during the peak festive period had been “challenging”, with sales down 6% at the group which also includes Dixons and Carphone Warehouse.

“Against this backdrop, Currys’ colleagues showed their resilience and the stronger business we’ve built,” Mr Baldock said.

“We gained market share, improved customer satisfaction, traded profitably, and can look ahead with confidence.”

Lord Livingston, whose executive career was partly spent at Dixons, the previous name of Currys, has had stints as chief executive of BT Group, chairman of Man Group and as the government’s minister for trade and investment.

A Currys spokesman declined to comment.

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