Clarks CEO and CFO exit company abruptly

Change is certainly a foot at British footwear retailer Clarks, which lost its chief executive officer and chief financial officer today, as both employees stepped down from their roles "with immediate effect."

No official reason was given for the dual departure of CEO Melissa Potter and CFO Robin Beacham, however according to a company statement, Clarks faced "a highly demanding commercial and economic environment, with increasing competition and intensified customer expectations," in recent years. The company added that: "the board believes new leadership will help [Clarks] to meet and overcome the challenges ahead," as the privately-owned retailer aims to push its global expansion scheme.

Clarks, which currently operates over 1,000 stores across the globe, has begun its search for a new chief executive to support its through its next phase of expansion. In the meantime, chairman Thomas O'Neill will serve as CEO on an interim basis and group financial controller Mike Coley, will serve as interim CFO.

"The search will be a key focus for the board, to ensure that the new leaders of the business have a clear understanding of what it takes to build a successful future, ensuring that Clarks continues to resonate and attract consumers across the world with innovative products that stand for quality and exemplify the very heritage that Clarks works so hard to maintain and develop," commented O'Neill.

He also expressed his gratitude to the departing executives: "Melissa and Robin have helped to navigate Clarks through significant changes in the sector and turbulent markets conditions across the globe. We wish them every success in their future ventures and endeavours." Potter exits her role after 27 years of service, as she joined the team in 1988 as a graduate trainee and Beacham departs after 9 years of service.