Whitfield succeeds Nigel Oddy as interim CEO of Matalan who concludes his six month role.
Whitfield was most recently CEO of Co-op’s food division, responsible for the company’s retail, wholesale, online and franchise businesses, as well as the Co-op’s property division. She oversaw revenues of GBP10.8bn (US$13.3bn) in 2021 and was responsible for over 55,000 employees.
Prior to her role at the Co-op, she held senior leadership positions at Asda, leading the general merchandise business and serving as VP for operations, e-commerce and international at George. She was also head of finance at Matalan between 2002 and 2008.
New Matalan CEO Whitfield said: “Matalan is a much-loved brand for its 11 million loyal customers and together with colleagues we will work to strengthen our offer and ensure we give them the great product and value that they and their families need. There are exciting times ahead for all of us that work in the business as we transform Matalan for the future.”
In addition, Matalan announced the appointment of Karl-Heinz Holland as the company’s new chair. Holland spent 23 years at Lidl Group, six of them as CEO, responsible for leading the group’s major expansion across Europe.
Holland has also served as CEO of DIA Group, a leading network of 5,700 neighbourhood stores across Spain, Argentina, Brazil, and Portugal.
Since May 2018, he has been chairman of Takko Fashion GmbH, a highly successful European discount fashion retailer. From January 2021 until April 2022, he served as Takko’s executive chairman and CEO. He will continue to serve as chairman of Takko Fashion GmbH.
Michael Phelps, partner at Tresidor Investment Management, one of the anchor investors in Matalan, commented: “We are absolutely delighted that Karl-Heinz and Jo have joined Matalan to oversee the next stage of the company’s development.
“Anyone close to the retail world will know the experience and focus that both Karl-Heinz and Jo will bring to their roles. They have a proven track-record of making positive impacts in value retail and are the perfect fit for Matalan as it focuses on this next stage of its growth. They will provide strong leadership and know-how which will help accelerate the transformation of the company.”