Independent retail chain Hughes Electrical has announced changes to its senior management.
Robert Hughes, formerly the managing director of the business, moves to the role of chairman, while Mark Wardell takes over as chief executive.
Mr Wardell joined Hughes straight from school, starting at the Wisbech branch, Cambridgeshire, in 1999. He has been with the company ever since, holding numerous roles across stores, sales and management.
He recently completed an MBA at Cranfield University, which saw him visit China to learn how businesses operate there and differ from their UK counterparts.
Mr Hughes (pictured), who is a Retra board member, will continue to be the face of the company, looking after finance, stakeholders and culture, while Mr Wardell will take over the day-to-day responsibility for all other aspects of the business.
Commenting on the changes, Mr Hughes said: “This is not a sign of any major change to the way we operate – it is evolution not revolution.
“I have been running the company for 25 years, during which time we have quadrupled the size of the business. Hughes was once reliant on shop sales but now has four legs to its operation: shops, trade, web and rental, each of which contributes 25 per cent of turnover. This diversification was an essential factor in seeing us successfully through the retail lockdown.
“This management change has been three years in the planning, and hopefully, with the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic behind us and the economy opening up, comes at an exciting time for the company.”
He added: “Next year we celebrate our centenary – all this makes it the perfect time for change by bringing in dynamic, fresh thinking. I look forward to working with Mark going forward.”
Said Mr Wardell: “It is a great pleasure and honour to follow on from Robert, who has been in charge while the business has gone through massive change, responding to the demands of customers, particularly over the last decade.
“It is also a great reassurance to know he will still play a very important role over the coming years and we have worked closely together to successfully steer the company through the coronavirus emergency.”
He added: “My challenge for Hughes is to be the very best at what we do right across the company. Being a successful business is not just about growth, it is about getting better and better at the things you do to the benefit of all our customers.
“Hughes is proud to be an East Anglian company – this is the geographical area where we will be prioritising our efforts going forward.
“There are no plans for major changes, or to alter the culture of the company and the way we do business, as it has served us so well for nearly 100 years.”