Ex-Diageo boss joins Wyevale

Appointment signals further corporatisation of the garden centre market

Former drinks company boss David Williams is the new non-executive chairman of Britain’s dominant garden centre chain, Wyevale. His appointment signals the further corporatisation of the garden centre market and signals the end of family involvement at the 116-centre retail chain. A representative for Wyevale said that the move showed an “evolution” of the board, adding that the Williamson family retained a shareholding interest and investor Laxey Partners’ (HW, 27 January) rapid acquisition of shares was “encouraging”. Williams, a former PepsiCo and Diageo manager and Thresher chief executive, will succeed Brian Evans, the retiring son-in-law of founder Harry Williamson, as non-executive chairman in March. After 40 years at the business, non-executive director Peter Williamson, Harry Williamson’s son, will end his family’s involvement in Wyevale at the AGM on 27 April. Williams, who is a non-executive director of Mothercare and DX Services, said: “I was attracted by the fact that this number-one brand operates as a specialist retailer in a growth category.”

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