Management Turnover as Change Agent

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Nepotism Can Work in Retail - Sweden's H and M Appoints New CEO

Sweden’s fashion chain Hennes & Mauritz (H and M) HMB (Sweden), the well regarded retail darling, has appointed the founder’s thirty three old grandson, Karl-Johan Persson to replace retiring CEO, Rolf Erikson on July 1.  Erikson had alreRolf Eriksenady announced his retirement and the company had focused on selecting his replacement.  Persson’s father and current chairman, Stefan Persson, is the company’s largest shareholder with 36% of the company’s shares.Karl-Johan Persson  Under Erikson’s CEO reign the clothing retail chain has flourished.  Even during last year’s difficult market, H&M has bucked retail trends.   According to Sweden’s locale,

Hennes and Mauritz has so far bucked the economic gloom and doom, reporting strong profit gains for the full-year 2008 and announcing the creation of up to 7,000 jobs in 2009.  

The group, known for its trendy yet affordable fashions, said its year to November 2008 net profit rose 12.5 percent from a year earlier to 15.29 billion kronor ($1.89 billion) with sales up 13 percent at 88.53 billion kronor.  

The appointment of Karl-Johan at thirty three is a bit surprising because of his age but he appears to have the right qualities necessary to keep the company moving forward.  His youth may actually serve him well as tOne year stock performance of H&Mhe head of such a fashion conscious and low cost retailer.  According to Camden for Families in Business,

Karl-Johan  has had an operational role since 2005 and is currently head of expansion, business development and brand and new business. He has been a board member of H and M’s subsidiaries in Denmark, Germany, the US and the UK since 2000 and in 2006 he was elected board member of H and M’s parent company.  

Karl Johan will also have the benefit in the early part of his reign to turn to his father and chairman Stefan Persson for advice. Stefan Persson had served as CEO from 1982 through 1998.  I expect that Karl-Johan despite his youth will manage to keep H and M as one of the top retail chains even during these terribly trying times.  Keep a close eye on H and M over the next year.  

For more:  


Retail Week 

Monster & Critics  

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