Morrisons, Britain’s fourth-biggest supermarket chain, surprised the market on Monday when it revealed that long-standing finance director Richard Pennycook has tendered his resignation.
Pennycook was widely seen as frustrated after missing out on the top job at Morrisons two years ago when Dalton Philips took over from Marc Bolland after the latter jumped ship to become chief executive at Marks & Spencer.
The board said on Monday that Pennycook intended to focus on “building a portfolio career” when he leaves next June. It is understood the outgoing FD is keen on taking on a non-executive chairmanship and two or three other non-executive roles, with mid-sized publicly quoted companies and private businesses.
He is already chairman of Kiddicare, Morrisons’s online childrenswear offshoot. The company confirmed yesterday that Pennycook would not receive any one-year contractual salary pay-off as he was seeing out his time, but is in line for a £1.2 million shares retention bonus he received when Philips took over.
Sir Ian Gibson, chairman of Morrisons, said: “Richard has done an outstanding job for Morrisons over the last seven years.
“He has played an increasing strategic role in the last few years as Morrisons has completed its transformation into a nationwide retailer. Richard will remain with Morrisons for another year which will ensure a seamless transition with his eventual successor.”
Philips said Pennycook was an “exceptional” chief financial officer who had made an “enormous contribution to Morrisons”. He added: “We have worked very closely together for more than two years.”
Last year Pennycook’s pay package at the supermarket giant was £1.08m, including a £512,000 bonus.
He said on Monday: “This was a difficult decision but by the time I leave next year I will have been with Morrisons for over eight years and I feel that it’s the right time to seek new challenges.
“It was very important to me to give Morrisons as much notice as possible to ensure a smooth transition.”
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