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Queen’s grocer Fortnum & Mason lines up Athron as CEO

Written by on 03/11/2020

A former executive at John Lewis and Matchesfashion is being lined up as the new boss of Fortnum & Mason, the famous Piccadilly department store.

Sky News has learnt that Tom Athron, who resigned as Matchesfashion’s chief operating officer in September, is the leading candidate to replace Ewan Venters.

A source close to Matchesfashion said Mr Athron’s appointment at Fortnum could be announced as soon as this week.

CEO of Fortnum & Mason Ewan Venters
Image: Fortnum & Mason boss Ewan Venters is set to leave the business next year

The new boss of one of London’s best-known department store will inherit a business which has been transformed under Mr Venters’ leadership during the last eight years.

Fortnum, which was established in 1707, holds royal warrants from both The Queen and the Prince of Wales.

Mr Venters oversaw the expansion of Fortnum both domestically – through stores at Heathrow Airport and St Pancras station – and internationally, with its latest overseas outpost opening in Hong Kong late last year.

During his tenure, Fortnum has reported several consecutive years of record sales and profits, although its progress has been checked this year by the coronavirus pandemic.

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Fortnum & Mason
Image: Fortnum & Mason’s spurt of sales growth in recent years is being tested by COVID-19

The outgoing boss is leaving Fortnum in the new year to become the first chief executive of Hauser & Wirth, the art business.

His successor is a former finance chief of Waitrose, and spent more than a decade at the upmarket grocer’s parent company, the John Lewis Partnership.

Fortnum, which is owned by the Weston family, declined to comment on Tuesday.

 Sky News

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