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Retail Groups Shares Fall After Senior Executive Quits

Retail Group Premiere Investment shares have fallen over 4% today after the former head of the Companies retail operation Mark McInnes hired the current head of Premieres Smiggle’s operation John Cheston (seen Below).

McInnes who is now working for Solomon Lew’s archrival Brett Blundy poached Cheston to head up fashion jewellery chain Lovisa.

John Cheston replaces Victor Herrero, the second-highest paid chief executive of any listed retailer on the ASX who is set to leave the operation later this year.

Mr Cheston’s exit from Premier Investments comes not long after Blundy hired McInnes the former David Jones chief executive (seen above with Solomon Lew)  with investors questioning who will be next.

Last year former JB Hi Fi Group CEO Richard Murray quit Premier Investments to run retailer Total Tools.

Richard Murray, who did a two year stint running Premier Investments’ retail arm for billionaire owner Solomon Lew.

Murray now reports to Metcash CEO Doug Jones.

E&P Capital analyst Phillip Kimber told the AFR it was “disappointing to lose Mr Cheston ahead of a potential demerger, and we note he is well regarded by the investment community”.

Lovisa shares also tumbled 9.9% to $30.58.

A Premier Investments spokesperson said Mr Cheston informed the company of his exit plans, and he provided 12 months’ notice. “Premier Retail remains well positioned in its leadership structure and will work through a constructive transition and succession plan in the months ahead,” the spokesperson said.

Citi analyst Sam Teeger said he was surprised that Mr Herrero would depart given “previous indications were that he seemed content in the role and wanted to remain”.

Mr Teeger said that the 71 per cent remuneration cut for Mr Cheston could indicate what Lovisa had been willing to pay Mr Herrero. He downgraded the stock to neutral, citing the recent share price run along with uncertainty following the management change.

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