A piece in today’s Times:
The boss of Card Factory has been pushed out of the greetings card retailer less than a month before it was due to reveal a new five-year strategy.
Since Karen Hubbard became chief executive in 2016 the company has suffered an 80 per cent slump in its share price and four profit warnings.
The departure of Ms Hubbard, 56, further reduces the already-tiny number of female bosses in the retail industry. Ms Hubbard was at one stage the sole female chief executive of a FTSE-250 retailer before it was relegated in December.
Rachel Osborne has recently become boss of Ted Baker, though its dwindling market cap also means that it is no longer in the index, leaving no female chief executives on the listing.
Ms Hubbard has been credited with modernising the retailer’s operations, boosting online sales and striking deals with Aldi and Australia’s The Reject Shop.
However, her tenure has coincided with a time of significant challenges for the high street and rising cost pressures which have put Card Factory’s profits under strain.
The cancellation of its special dividend in January on the back of a poor Christmas performance wiped a quarter off its market value. It has 1,022 stores in the UK and 7,000 staff.
Card Factory said: “Karen and the board have agreed that this is an appropriate time to transition to new leadership committed to the longer-term successful implementation of the next phase of the group’s return to growth.” [C4MB: In plain English, “Karen, you’ve been a disaster, you’re fired!”]
Shares in Card Factory closed 0.2p, or 0.40 per cent higher, to 50p.
The business said that it had started a search for a replacement while Paul Moody, the chairman, would be interim chief executive. It is still due to update investors on the new strategy on July 28.
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