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Pumpkin Patch CEO quits

pumpkin patchPumpkin Patch CEO, Di Humphries, will leave the ailing children’s clothing chain in early November after the company’s board decided to knuckle down on lifting the business’s performance instead of accepting substandard offers to purchase the firm.

Pumpkin Patch shares fell 3.5 New Zealand cents to 20 NZ cents after the announcement.

Humphries, who was poached from the Hallenstein Glasson womenswear chain, officially wraps up her term in November 4, Pumpkin Patch said in a statement.

She took over from former CEO, Neil Cowie, in August 2013.

Since taking over the job, Pumpkin Patch has struggled to remain relevant in a changing retail environment, and recently reviewed its options after receiving offers to buy or refinance the business.

Last week, the board decided against accepting any offers, which it didn’t see as compelling enough to accept, and has decided to focus on lifting Pumpkin Patch’s operating performance to generate value to shareholders.

“I believe now is an appropriate time for a new CEO to take the company through the next stage of the business improvement process,” Humphries said.

“Good progress has been made on product design, supply chain improvement, brand positioning and laying the foundations for the business transformation programme.”

Since Humphries took over, the shares have plunged from 88 cents as the retailer was forced to discount stock to maintain sales to compete with cheaper online rivals, shut unprofitable stores, and was tagged by its auditor last year over the prospect of breaching the terms of its banking covenants.

Chairman, Peter Schuyt, said Humphries inherited a company that needed, and still needs “major changes across all parts of the business” and he acknowledged the progress she achieved.

The board is seeking a new CEO.


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