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Monday, 13 November, 2000, 12:34 GMT
Top Shop owner poaches Iceland chief
Stuart Rose, new Arcadia chief executive
Stuart Rose has a rescue job at Arcadia
The UK's second largest clothes retailer, Arcadia, has poached the chief executive of Iceland as it attempts to move back into profit.

Stuart Rose, 51, returns to the group after a three year absence.

My management style is very much to make things happen

Stuart Rose

He has been given a lucrative share options package, which would see him making more than 20m profit if he can return the group's share price to 1998 levels.

The chain, which has a raft of high street names such as Top Shop, Burtons, Dorothy Perkins, Evans and Racing Green, has seen its fortunes dive during the past three years.

Its shares slumped 90% from their peak values, as tough competition and poor acquisitions more than wiped out its profits and left the group close to collapse.

Rewards could reach 20m

The decline in operating performance started shortly after Arcadia was created by the demerger from Debenhams of the Burtons Group in 1997 - the point at which Mr Rose left.

He takes up his position immediately following the weekend retirement of former chief executive John Hoerner, 61.

Arcadia insisted Mr Hoerner's decision to stand down had been his own.

Chairman Adam Broadbent said: "He always said he would retire suddenly, and it is a good time in the sense that trading is better."

Mr Rose, started his career as a Marks & Spencer trainee, rising through the ranks before joining Burton Group in 1989, rising to become chief executive of Burton Menswear, Evans, Dorothy Perkins and Principles.

Booker merger

He left in late 1997 before Burton Group split into Arcadia and department store group Debenhams.

Mr Rose became chief executive of catalogue retailer Argos, at the time it was under takeover attack from Great Universal Stores, a bid which succeeded.

In September 1998 he joined cash-and-carry group Booker, overseeing its merger with frozen food retailer Iceland, and was appointed chief executive of the enlarged group.

Mr Rose said on Monday that he would take a few weeks to see how the business was performing, adding: "But my management style is very much to make things happen."

Shares move

The group is in the process of closing 455 stores, including its Principles for Men and Richards brands, as part of a restructuring programme.

In October it reported a loss of 8.5m in the year to 26 August compared with a profit of 41.8m in the same period a year earlier.

At the time the group said there were signs that its fortunes were picking up, with like-for-like sales, stripping out the effect of store openings or closures, up 3.3% in the first seven weeks of its current financial year.

In Monday's statement Arcadia said its trading performance remained in line with that.

Arcadia shares rose 20%, or 11 pence, in early trading to 62p, building on a 6% rise on Friday.

But Iceland shares were 3%, or 9.5p, lower at 318.5p.

Iceland chairman Malcolm Walker said he was "naturally disappointed" to see the departure of Mr Rose and would be assuming his role with immediate effect.

Mr Rose has also brought Charles Wilson, an executive director of Iceland, with him to Arcadia. But Mr Wilson will remain in his other role, as managing director of Booker until March to oversee its continuing merger with Iceland.

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