Waterstones: four board members step down

Waterstones: four board members step down

Waterstones has reduced the size of its board by four with its owner Alexander Mamut saying the chain is now “financially strong and poised for future growth”.

The board’s chairman, Miranda Curtis, along with three independent non-executive directors, publisher Nick Perren, Robert Hingley and Lord Dennis Stevenson, have now retired from the board five years after Russian entrepreneur Alexander Mamut bought Waterstones from the HMV Group in 2011.

Existing board member Marina Groenberg has now taken up the role of chairman, representing Lynwood Investments, Mamut’s company which now runs most of the entrepreneur’s ventures and acts as Waterstones’ parent company.

The board will now be made up of Groenberg, Waterstones m.d James Daunt and Mamut, although a spokesperson said “the future composition of the board is under review.”

The move follows the chain retailer’s latest results in the year to April 2015, in which it slashed losses to £1.9m after tax from £37.3m in the year to April 2012. Sales were up 1% last year, where they were down by 14% in 2012.

The changes took effect on 31st July 2016.

Mamut said: “I would like to thank Miranda and the other independent directors for their support of Waterstones over the past five years. The company is now in an excellent position: financially strong and poised for future growth.”

Curtis, who is the non-executive director of Liberty Global Plc, and also a non-executive of Marks & Spencer, said: "The transformation of Waterstones has been one of the real successes of British retailing, and it has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with James Daunt. What he has been able to achieve would not have been possible without the vision, support and funding provided by Alexander Mamut. Waterstones is now extremely well-placed to cement its position as by far the nation's largest specialist bookseller, and we all wish James and the team the very best for the future."

Daunt said that he “wholeheartedly endorsed” Mamut’s thanks to the departing board members.

“Their contribution to this turnaround has been hugely significant both for the company and personally,” he said.

Mamut bought Waterstones from the HMV Group in May 2011 for £53m.