Wyevale COO Livingstone to leave

Wyevale Garden Centres' chief operating officer Andrew Livingston is leaving the business to join DIY retailer Screwfix.

Wyevale chief executive Nicholas Marshall has promoted long-serving Country Gardens buyer Steve Pitcher to purchasing director. Livingston will not be directly replaced.

Marshall said: I am delighted for Andrew as it is a progression in his career. I regret that Andrew is leaving and would like to thank him for his major contribution in building a strong team and strengthening the business since his arrival three years ago."

Livingston said: I’ve enjoyed being part of the team that put Wyevale back on the map. I now look forward to another major challenging senior role at Screwfix. I wish Wyevale the best with the future.

Livingston came to Wyevale from B&Q in 2006 as trading director and was made chief operating officer in August, shortly before Marshall replaced another ex-B&Q man, Jim Hodkinson, as chief executive.

Marshall said: "Steve Pitcher was born and brought up on a garden centre and his DNA is in garden centres. He knows the industry and suppliers very well."

Meanwhile, Marshall expects refinancing of Wyevale to be completed by the end of January in a debt for equity deal with HBOS.

Marshall said: "The bank is going to swap some debt for equity because Wyevale has been overburdened with debt since it was taken into private ownership."

Marshall said shareholders, Sir Tom Hunter and the bank were keen to complete the deal as soon as possible before the Lloyds/HBOS merger in February.

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