Financial News

  • 11 February 2014, 7:21

Pets At Home Lures Women To Hit Board Target

The UK's biggest pets retailer is to name two new female directors in an effort to satisfy the growing clamour for more diverse boardrooms as it prepares for a 1.5bn flotation.

Sky News has learnt that Pets At Home is to recruit Tessa Green, a trustee of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's charitable foundation, and Amy Stirling, a former Carphone Warehouse executive, as non-executive directors.

The appointments will mean that Pets At Home will have two women on a board of approximately six directors when it goes public this year, exceeding the target for quoted companies of 25% female representation by next year.

The chairman of Halfords, Dennis Millard, will also be appointed to the Pets At Home board, sources said on Monday.

The pets retailer is currently owned by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), the private equity firm, which is likely to announce the flotation in the coming weeks.

Mr Millard is already likely to be familiar with Pets At Home's business since he recruited Matt Davies, the chain's then chief executive, to run Halfords in 2012.

In addition to her role at the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's foundation, Ms Green is a trustee of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew and is a former chairman of the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.

Her corporate career included a spell as head of corporate affairs at Carlton Communications, a role also held by David Cameron, the Prime Minister.

KKR has appointed its in-house capital markets division alongside Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Nomura to oversee the listing of Pets At Home.

The chain's public market debut will come four years after KKR acquired it in a 955m deal.

In its latest set of full-year results, published in August, Pets at Home reported a surge in sales and profits, underlining its status as one of the high street success stories during a period of economic volatility.

Earnings broke through the 100m barrier for the first time in the year to March, although Nick Wood, the former Dixons executive who now runs Pets at Home, expressed caution about the outlook.

"Market conditions remain challenging with disposable incomes under pressure for many of our customers," he said.

"Against this backdrop we remain committed to delivering fantastic value as well as exceptional service to our customers through new stores and trading formats, new product innovation, and the engagement and knowledge of truly committed colleagues throughout the business."

:: Watch Sky News live on television, on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602, Freeview channel 82 and Freesat channel 202.