Former Dunnes Stores director to take over helm at rival Superquinn
ANDREW Street, former chief operating officer of Dunnes Stores, is to join Superquinn next week as its chief executive in a move that will see existing executive chairman Simon Burke step back from day-to-day management.
Mr Street, also a former executive with Boots, was previously the most senior non-family director at Dunnes Stores after Margaret Heffernan and Frank Dunne. The Irish Independent revealed last year that he had quit his role there.
Mr Burke, who has been executive chairman of Superquinn since it was acquired by the Select Retail Holdings investment group in 2005 for €450m, will become non-executive chairman at the retailer.
Speaking to the Irish Independent yesterday, Mr Burke said he had been on the lookout for a chief executive for some time, as he had envisaged that he would already have taken a more strategic role at the company by this time.
"I jumped at the chance to get Andrew. There are very few people around with that type of experience," he said. "I am very happy to be continuing my role with Superquinn, but now it will get 24/7 attention from a very capable chief executive."
Mr Burke, previously executive chairman of Hamleys toy store, London, and former chief executive of Virgin Retail, is also a non-executive director with UK pub group Mitchells & Butlers, as well as newly appointed chairman of UK-based HobbyCraft, a private equity-backed chain of stores.
He said that Mr Street's "priority challenge" would be to return Superquinn to a sales-led recovery. He pointed out that the chain has been profitable and generating cash for the past 18 months. "We have been able to hold our own by trimming our cost base, but we need to deliver on a positive momentum in sales."
Mr Burke added that new store openings are one of the ways in which Superquinn would be attempting to capture market share, but explained that decisions on new outlets would be made cautiously.
"We're not going to take chances," he said, pointing out that the retailer would continue to focus on cities and the greater Dublin area.
Superquinn has just opened an outlet in Heuston South Quarter in Dublin, while another is due to open in Rathgar, Dublin, on Budget Day.
John Ruddy, editor of retail industry trade magazine 'Checkout', which first reported the top-tier change, said the appointment of Mr Street would be a positive one for Superquinn, which has seen two senior defections to Dunnes Stores in recent months.
However, he argued that Superquinn would need to move beyond its traditional core market if it was to become a more significant retail player.
Superquinn's buyers included developers Bernard McNamara, who later sold out, and Jerry O'Reilly, as well as businessmen David Courtney, Bernard Doyle and Terry Sweeney.