Former Majestic boss John Colley set to return

Majestic’s former managing director, John Colley, is set to take the helm of the UK wine retail business again, following its sale to Fortress Bank earlier this month.

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Colley, who apparently advised Fortress during the acquisition, The Sunday Times reported yesterday, has quit his role as chief trading officer at DIY group Kingfisher and is understood to be rejoining Majestic where he was managing director between 2015-2017.

Colley was credited with a key part in the turnaround of Majestic Retail following its acquisition by Naked Wines, rebuilding the drinks’ business’ senior leadership team, and helped improve customer service and shopper loyalty. He was instrumental in a major overhaul of the retail stores and online business, refitting stores to make them easier to navigate and restock,  and rolled out  out click-and-collect and next-day deliveries, telling db  at the time he wanted to make the wine specialist ‘the Apple Store’ of wine, by better syncing the online and off-line experience for customers. He also launched a new employee share and reward scheme to boost staff retentionand pave the way for greater autonomy in stores.

Colley left Majestic in July 2017 to become chief executive at Hobbycraft, saying he wanted to be based nearer his family in the South West (although The Sunday TImes reports rumours of a fall-out with then CEO Rowan Gormley), but stepped down after just eight weeks in the role, apparently saying that it wasn’t “the right fit”. Within a few months he had rejoined former employer Kingfisher, the owners of B&Q and Screwfix, where he had previously been commercial director, with responsibility for overall Group Trading and pricing strategy.

Following the sale of the retail and commercial business (Majestic Wine Warehouses Limited and Les Celliers de Calais) to Fortress’s fund CF Bacchus Holdings Limited (BidCo), Majestic Wine plc formally confirmed it had changed its name to Naked Wines plc last week.

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