AO World’s Steve Caunce steps down as chief executive with immediate effect in bid to ‘re-balance his lifestyle’
- AO World’s founder, John Roberts, will be taking over from Steve Caunce
- Shares in FTSE 250 listed AO are down 1.52 per cent or 1.9p to 122.9p
The boss of electricals retailer AO World, Steve Caunce, has decided to step down from the company ‘with immediate effect.’
The founder of AO, John Roberts, will be taking over from Mr Caunce, 50, who has decided to ‘step back to a less demanding business role and re-balance his lifestyle.’
Mr Caunce will take on a part-time role at the firm as an adviser to the chief executive and the board.
Stepping down: AO World boss Steve Caunce, has decided to step down from the company ‘with immediate effect’
The move comes after AO posted an £11.7million operating loss for the six months to 30 September amid a challenging UK and German market.
But, the group’s sales increased by 8.2 per cent over the third quarter ending 31 December.
The firm said Mr Caunce had led the group through ‘two years of intense activity.’
Mr Caunce said: ‘It is a privilege to have played a significant part in AO’s success and to have led the company for the last two years.
‘I have decided to step down at a time when I feel AO is well-placed to continue to thrive as a leader in our sector.’
Mr Roberts and AO’s chairman, Geoff Cooper, both praised the outgoing boss, who has worked as part of the management team for 13 years.
Mr Cooper said: ‘I have been impressed with his work as CEO; he has made a fundamental contribution over 13 years both in building AO into the business it is today and in setting out our commitment to delivering for shareholders going forward.’
Mr Roberts, 45, said he ‘can’t wait to get stuck in again as CEO as we move on to the next exciting stage of the AO story.’
Ready for action: The founder of AO, John Roberts, will be taking over from Mr Caunce
Analysts at Jefferies said Mr Caunce leaves a ‘well-structured business, with a strengthened senior management team and sound infrastructure.’
They added: ‘Although there are near-term challenges, in the medium term AO’s excellent reputation for customer service (among customers at least), should underpin its growth prospects.’
Retail analyst Nick Bubb said: ‘Out of the blue, AO World has announced that Steve Caunce has decided to step down as CEO and from the Board with immediate effect.
‘We are told that ‘having led the group through two years of intense activity, he has now decided to step back to a less demanding business role and re-balance his lifestyle’.
‘But surprise, surprise we are also told that John Roberts, AO’s founder, who stepped back from day-to-day involvement in the business in February 2017 ‘now has a renewed energy to focus on the business he created and to lead AO on the continued execution of its strategy’.
‘As John Roberts aka ‘Motormouth’ is back in charge, City analysts will probably shrug at the reshuffle news and get back to filing their 2017/18 tax returns today.’
Shares in FTSE 250 listed AO are down 1.52 per cent or 1.9p to 122.9p.