Our management

The Home Retail Group Board includes experienced executive and non-executive directors, supported by a Group Executive Board. Each of the Operating Companies has its own executive board.

 

Board of Directors

John Coombe

Chairman

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John Coombe - Chairman

John held a number of senior financial roles within Charterhouse Group and Charter Consolidated before joining Glaxo Holdings in 1986. Appointed to the Board in 1992, he was ultimately Chief Financial Officer of GlaxoSmithKline for five years before retiring in 2005. He joined the GUS board in 2005 and became the Senior Independent Director of Home Retail Group in October 2006 and Chairman in July 2012. He is Chairman of Hogg Robinson Group, a former Non-Executive Director of HSBC Holdings and a former member of the Code Committee of the Panel of Takeovers and Mergers and of the UK Accounting Standards Board.

Mike Darcey

Senior Independent Director

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Mike Darcey - Senior Independent Director

Mike became Chief Executive Officer of News UK in 2013 following 15 years with BSkyB where he had been Chief Operating Officer since 2006. Prior to BSkyB Mike was an economic advisor with a number of consulting companies – including Lexecon, Putnam Hayes & Bartlett and KPMG – working across a wide range of industries, with particular focus on entertainment and telecommunications. Mike joined Home Retail Group in April 2010 and was appointed Senior Independent Director in July 2012.

Jacqueline de Rojas

Non-Executive Director

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Jacqueline de Rojas - Non-Executive Director

Jacqueline is Vice President and General Manager of Citrix Northern Europe. Her career has focused on the digital sector and she has held leadership roles within major enterprise software businesses including CA, McAfee, Novell, Business Objects and Informix. She is Deputy President of techUK and is a judge on the everywoman Women in Technology and EY Entrepreneur of the Year awards. Jacqueline is also a member of the Prince’s Trust Technology Leadership Group and joined the Home Retail Group Board in December 2012.

 

John Walden

Chief Executive

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John Walden - Chief Executive

John started his retail career in the US with Peapod. He joined Best Buy in 1999 as President of its internet and direct-channels division and also served as Executive Vice President, Human Capital and Leadership, and ultimately as Executive Vice President of its Customer Business Group. John later moved to Sears where he led marketing, merchandising and the internet, catalogue and home services divisions. He joined Argos as Managing Director in February 2012 and was appointed Chief Executive of Home Retail Group in March 2014.

Ian Durant

Non-Executive Director

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Ian Durant - Non-Executive Director

Ian is Chairman of Capital & Counties Properties, Chairman of Greggs and the Senior Independent Non-Executive Director of Greene King. He is a former Finance Director of Liberty International (renamed Intu Properties). In his earlier career he worked for Hanson and Jardine Matheson and was Finance Director of Hongkong Land, Dairy Farm International and Thistle Hotels and Chief Finance Officer of SeaContainers. He joined the Home Retail Group Board in July 2011.

 

Richard Ashton

Finance Director

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Richard Ashton - Finance Director

Richard started his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers where he trained as a chartered accountant, and joined GE in 1994, spending eight years in a variety of positions including Chief Financial Officer of GE Capital’s pan-European equipment-financing business, assistant to GE Capital’s Chief Financial Officer in the US and various finance roles in the UK. He joined Argos Retail Group as Finance Director in 2001 and, in July 2006, became Finance Director of Home Retail Group.

Cath Keers

Non-Executive Director

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Cath Keers - Non-Executive Director

Cath started her retail career with Thorn EMI and, after marketing and business development roles at Sky TV, Avon and Next, joined the BT Group in 1996, holding a number of commercial roles, including Marketing Director of O2, Chairman of Tesco Mobile and Customer Director of O2. She is a Non-Executive Director of the Royal Mail Group and LV=, and an advisory board member of The Foundation, a growth innovation consultancy. Cath was previously a Non-Executive Director of Telefonica Europe and of the Children’s Mutual. Cath joined the Home Retail Group Board in September 2011.

 
 

Group Executive Board

John Walden

Chief Executive

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John Walden - Chief Executive

John started his retail career in the US with Peapod. He joined Best Buy in 1999 as President of its internet and direct-channels division and also served as Executive Vice President, Human Capital and Leadership, and ultimately as Executive Vice President of its Customer Business Group. John later moved to Sears where he led marketing, merchandising and the internet, catalogue and home services divisions. He joined Argos as Managing Director in February 2012 and was appointed Chief Executive of Home Retail Group in March 2014.

David Robinson

Chief Operating Officer, Argos

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David Robinson - Chief Operating Officer, Argos

David’s retail career started at Dixons Stores Group where he held roles within commercial and product marketing before joining Homebase as a trading manager. Following Homebase’s acquisition by GUS plc, he moved to Argos in 2003 as Trading Director for Electricals and, in 2009, joined the Homebase Board as Commercial Director. David joined the Argos Board as Commercial Director in 2011 and became Chief Operating Officer of Argos in March 2014. He was appointed to the Group Executive Board in June 2014.

Mark Murphy

Managing Director, Financial Services

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Mark Murphy - Managing Director, Financial Services

Mark joined Home Retail Group in July 2015 from a range of assignments in the retail and store card sectors. Prior to this he was at Shop Direct Group, where he was Credit Product and Marketing Director for their Financial Services Division while in addition a Board Director at the Finance and Leasing Association. Mark’s previous experience in financial services is extensive, having been Managing Director of Hitachi Capital Consumer Finance; General Manager, Marketing at Coventry Building Society; Business Development Director, First National Bank, in addition to a variety of roles with Abbey National. Mark’s early career was at HFC Bank.

George Goley

Chief Technology Officer

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George Goley - Chief Technology Officer

George joined Home Retail Group in June 2015 from US retailer, Sears, where he had been Chief Information Officer - Online since 2012. Previously, George spent six years with Amazon - as Director of Software Development and, latterly, Vice President Technology – and held numerous roles at Microsoft and MSN.

 

Richard Ashton

Finance Director

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Richard Ashton - Finance Director

Richard started his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers where he trained as a chartered accountant, and joined GE in 1994, spending eight years in a variety of positions including Chief Financial Officer of GE Capital’s pan-European equipment-financing business, assistant to GE Capital’s Chief Financial Officer in the US and various finance roles in the UK. He joined Argos Retail Group as Finance Director in 2001 and, in July 2006, became Finance Director of Home Retail Group.

Bertrand Bodson

Chief Digital Officer

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Bertrand Bodson - Chief Digital Officer

Bertrand started his career at BCG in Belgium before moving to the US and joining Amazon in its early days. He then co-founded Bragster.com, one of the largest VC-backed social media platforms in its space. Since then, Bertrand led the digital transformation of EMI, where he was Executive Vice President and, in 2013, joined Argos as its first-ever Digital Director. He was appointed Chief Digital Officer of Home Retail Group in March 2014, assuming broader responsibility for the expanding digital businesses across the Group and for Argos’ IS, and joined the Group Executive Board in June 2014.

Steve Carson

Retail and Customer Operations Director

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Steve Carson - Director of Retail and Customer Operations

Steve’s retail career started as a lad, helping out in his parents’ grocery shop before joining Sainsbury’s in 1988 as a trainee manager. He held a variety of store, regional and head office management roles at Sainsbury’s, culminating as Managing Director for the London and east zone. He joined Argos as Retail General Manager for the central region in 2006 and moved to Homebase as Head of Retail in 2010 before becoming General Manager of the Group’s Home Store & More operation. He was appointed Argos Retail Operations Director in 2012 and became Director of Retail and Customer Operations in 2013. He was appointed to the Group Executive Board in June 2014.

 

Ella Bennett, Group HR Director

Ella Bennett

Group HR Director

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Ella Bennett - Group HR Director

Ella’s HR career started in the voluntary sector where she held various roles including that of Head of HR for Mind, the mental health charity. In 2000 Ella joined Fujitsu (then ICL) where she was responsible for several major HR-driven improvement and transformation programmes. In 2009 Ella was appointed HR Director for Fujitsu UK and Ireland then joined Home Retail Group as Group HR Director in August 2015. Ella maintains her links with the voluntary sector as a Trustee of Roundhouse, London.

 
Echo Lu - Homebase Managing Director

Echo Lu

Managing Director, Homebase

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Echo Lu - Managing Director, Homebase

Echo started her career in the US with Bristol Myers-Squibb, a leading global pharmaceutical company, where she trained in human resources and held a number of leadership roles, including HR Director for China. In 2004, Echo joined Tesco as the Regional HR Director for Asia and subsequently moved into general management positions in operations and commercial in the UK and Asia, including the COO role for China. She returned to the UK in 2012 as the Property Director for Tesco UK & Ireland and also served as a Non-Executive Director for Dobbies Garden Centre. Echo joined the Home Retail Group Executive Board as Managing Director of Homebase in April 2015.

Maria Thompson

Commercial and Supply Chain Director

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Maria Thompson - Commercial and Supply Chain Director

Maria joined Argos in 1990 and has held a variety of roles, and was appointed Commercial Director, Argos Retail Group in 2003 and subsequently Commercial Director, Home Retail Group in 2006. Prior to joining Argos, Maria had worked in various marketing, buying and product management roles in the Young & Rubicam Group, Boots the Chemist and Associated British Foods.

Gordon Bentley

Company Secretary

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Gordon Bentley - Company Secretary

Gordon started his career as a solicitor with Dundas & Wilson and Dickson Minto. In 1998 he joined Standard Chartered and held a number of roles including senior management positions in legal and compliance, the group chief executive’s office and government relations, and company secretary. In 2004 he joined GUS as Company Secretary. He was appointed Company Secretary of Home Retail Group in October 2006.