Sir Philip Green has appointed two restructuring specialists to the boards of his Arcadia retail empire as he prepares a major overhaul.
Jamie Drummond Smith, chairman of finance group Cattles, becomes chairman of Topshop, Topman, Arcadia Group, and the ultimate parent company Taveta. He was previously Cattles’ chief restructuring office.
Peter Bloxham, ex-head of restructuring and insolvency at law firm Freshfields, is also appointed to the board. Mr Bloxham has been advising the company on its future plans.
Their expertise is particularly relevant as Sir Philip is preparing to announce a big restructuring which is expected to involve a form of insolvency proceedings called a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), allowing the company to exit or reduce rental agreements with retail landlords.
Many other retailers – including the BHS stores group, once owned by Arcadia – used a similar mechanism when it was fighting, unsuccessfully, for survival.
The appointments fill gaps left on the various boards after the resignation of Lady Karren Brady and Sharon Brown, who left after a series of allegations of inappropriate conduct towards female and black employees by Sir Philip.
Sir Philip lost two more directors last week when his biggest outside investor, US based Leonard Green Partners sold its 25% stake in Topshop.
Sir Philip is also in negotiations with the pensions regulator to try and reduce the £50m in annual cash the company is contributing towards its £500m pound deficit. Arcadia’s restructuring is expected to be announced in early May.