Wolseley’s (LON:WOS) share price has swung between gains and losses this morning after the world’s largest supplier of plumbing and building materials revealed that its chief executive had decided to retire.
Ian Meakins will step down on August 31, having been at the helm since July 2009. He will be succeeded by John Martin, Wolsely’s chief financial officer who has occupied the role since 2010. According to the group’s statement, Martin will be paid an annual salary of £860,000 and will participate in the company’s bonus and long-term incentive schemes.
“The current CFO [Martin] obviously knows the business very well. We wouldn’t expect any significant change in the strategy so it shouldn’t be a big surprise,” Canaccord Genuity analyst Aynsley Lammin told Reuters following the announcement.
In addition, Wolseley revealed today that it would appoint Simon Nicholls, currently finance director at British engineering firm Cobham, to replace Martin as group CFO. Nicholls will be paid an annual salary of £530,000, compared to £412,000 per annum at Cobham.
Wolseley’s changes at the top come amid predictions by the company of a slowdown in its overseas markets. Profits rose 11.4p percent in the year to July, but Wolseley said parts of its US business — which accounts for three-quarters of group profits — were slowing, as the slump in oil and gas markets hit its customers. Plunging commodity prices have also affected Wolseley’s operations in China, which contributes four percent to the group’s profits. Trading in the region slumped by 21 percent last year.
Wolseley’s share price has been volatile this morning. After a jump at the opening bell, the stock started swinging between gains and losses. As of 10:53 GMT, the company was trading 0.21 percent lower at 3,347.00p, underperforming the FTSE 100, which meanwhile stood 0.28 percent higher at 5,820.33 points.
As of 11:03 GMT, Monday, 18 January, Wolseley plc share price is 3,341.50p.
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