Lookers shock: Bruce and McMinn to step down

  01 November 2019

Lookers has announced that its CEO, Andy Bruce, and COO, Nigel McMinn, are to step down from the board with immediate effect. In a shock Q3 trading update, the company said chairman Phil White will become interim executive chairman while non-exec director, Richard Walker, will become a part-time executive until permanent successors are found.

The group also warned that it now expects underlying profit for the full year will decline to £20 million. It is the group’s second profit warning of the year and, in August, it confirmed H1 2019 profits were down almost 40% on 2018.

No reasons were given for the sudden and unexpected departure of the two most senior operational executives in the business. Andy Bruce has been with Lookers since 2000 and Nigel McMinn joined in 2013. The company said both “will remain available to the group until 31 December 2019 to ensure an effective transition”.

Andy Bruce said: “After nearly two decades with Lookers, it is now time for me to move onto new ventures and allow new leadership to take the business into its next chapter.”

In the statement, Looker said “trading, particularly over recent weeks since mid-September, has been much more challenging than expected.

“Despite the level of orders for new cars both before September and in the first half of the month being satisfactory, we lost momentum as the month progressed and had a much weaker than expected finish.

“Like-for-like unit sales to retail customers declined by -11.5% in the period, being particularly impacted by the group’s volume brands. The group also experienced margin pressure leading to total gross profit from the sale of new vehicles during the period to be c.£7m below last year.”

Lookers’ portfolio consolidation will now accelerate. Fifteen retailers have been identified for closure and all but two will be closed by the end of the year. Where possible, they will be either relocated or consolidated into existing outlets in adjacent territories.

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