Arcadia group marketer to quit role

Arcadia's group marketing director Steven Sharp is to leave the retail empire, three months after it was acquired by Bhs owner Philip Green.

Arcadia will scrap the role of group marketer following his departure, handing marketing responsibilities to its individual retail chains.

Sharp, one of the UK's best-known retail marketers, is expected to quit the company in the next few weeks. According to sources, he is leaving of his own accord because he feels the job he was brought in to do is complete. He does not have a job to go to. However, for the past 14 years he has worked closely with group chief executive Stuart Rose, now strongly tipped to take the chief executive role at Boots. It is possible that if this happens, Sharp could join him there.

Sharp has held the group marketing director role since it was revived by Arcadia in April 2001. He worked alongside Rose on turning around the group, which includes Top Shop, Miss Selfridge and Burtons.

Following Sharp's arrival at Arcadia, the company disposed of a number of brands including Racing Green, Principles and Hawkshead to a management buyout team, which formed Rubicon Retail.

The high-street empire, which was taken over by Green in September in an £850m deal, has now decided it has no need for a senior group marketer.

Green's focus on improving Bhs' stores and merchandising has underlined his aversion to spending large sums on advertising and external brand communications.

He is understood to feel that Arcadia's marketing needs can best be met by allowing the directors of the individual chains to decide on marketing strategy themselves.

Neither Green nor Sharp were available for comment as Marketing went to press.

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