Husain steps down at Foyles; Currie appointed

Husain steps down at Foyles; Currie appointed

Sam Husain is to retire from his position as c.e.o of Foyles in April after eight years at the helm of the bookseller.

Former Hamleys c.o.o. Paul Currie will replace him.

Husain will step down on his 68th birthday in April.

Currie, formerly c.o.o. at toy retailer Hamleys and global vice president of retail sales and operations for luxury cosmetics company Molton Brown, will join Foyles on 16th February, but Husain will continue until 30th April while handing over to Currie. Husain will then remain with Foyles as a non-executive director thereafter.
Foyles said Husain had “presided over a period of change and growth” at the bookseller, “at the same time as the bricks and mortar book retail market has been under tremendous challenge.” A spokesperson said he had “steered the business through five consecutive years of profitable trading, and overseen the move to the new flagship store on Charing Cross Road."

Under Husain's leadership, Foyles won Bookseller of the Year at The Bookseller Industry Awards four times in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2013, and Children’s Bookseller of the Year in 2012.

Christopher Foyle, non-executive chairman of Foyles, said: “‘Sam has been invaluable to Foyles’ continuing renaissance. His leadership has made the past eight years exceptional, culminating in a superb Christmas at our new flagship store and across the business, and news of an exciting new opening in Birmingham. I have enjoyed working with Sam enormously.” He added: “I’m looking forward to welcoming Paul Currie to Foyles and benefiting from his extensive experience in the retail sector.”

Husain said his time as the c.e.o of Foyles had been have been enjoyable and fulfilling. “The staff, managers and management team are committed and second to none and are now led by a capable and proven c.e.o,” he said. “I believe the company is in excellent hands and in a good position to grow further and benefit from opportunities that arise.”

Husain told The Bookseller he was looking forward to relaxing when he retires and considered setting up the management team one of his key accomplishments at the company. “In the last five years my impact has been more in a turnaround capacity, taking Foyles from a business which revolved around its flagship store to opening new stores and improving its profitability," he said. "That was where my task was, in looking at financial stability in the company.” He added that his successes included “creating a financial management team and making it a core part of the business, making the business work for itself, looking at basic metrics and looking at new opportunities. At the moment physical book seems to have had a resurgence and the opportunities are endless.”

New appointment Currie began his career with store management positions at Marks and Spencer, rising through to managing the multi-regional European store development in France. His senior roles have included retailers such as River Island and Hamley and he has acted as a consultant to a number of respected retail brands, including Cath Kidston and the White Company. Most recently he has acted as a strategy adviser to the executive chairman of Crabtree and Evelyn.

Currie told The Bookseller he was looking forward to growing Foyles to match the power and reach of its strong brand. “If you look at the brand of Foyles and measure the brand equity against the perception of the brand, there is a lot of difference,” Currie said. “People think Foyles is a lot bigger than it actually is. There is real potential for Foyles to grow into that.”