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IN FOCUS: Who is CMJ’s interim chief executive?

With Willie Hamilton set to be replaced on an interim basis by Terry Boot, Ruth Faulkner takes a closer look at the former footwear finance chief and his background.

To say that Terry Boot has a good deal of retail industry experience would be putting it mildly. With a career in retail stretching back over the last 24 years, Boot, now 52, has held accounting and finance director positions at some of this country’s best-known high street names from outdoor specialist Millets to footwear retailer Jones Bootmaker.

In fact, it was with out-of-town family footwear retailer Brantano where Boot spent the lion’s share of his career, joining the business as finance director in 1999. In this role, Boot also served for two years as group property director covering the UK, Belgium and Luxembourg.

In 2008 Brantano was acquired by Dutch retail group Macintosh and at this point Boot took on the role of director of management services alongside his existing finance director position, broadening his remit to include warehousing, distribution, property, IT, loss prevention, HR, payroll, legal and internal audit.

In January 2011 Macintosh acquired high street footwear retailer Jones Bootmaker and Boot’s role broadened further to encompass the then 93-strong chain in addition to Brantano’s portfolio of 150 UK stores.

In March 2015, Macintosh put Brantano and Jones Bootmaker up for sale and the businesses were acquired later that year in October by private equity firm Alteri Investors for £12.2m.

Following the sale of both retail chains to Alteri, Boot assumed the role of chief financial officer and remained with the businesses until April 2016, just a few months after Brantano fell into administration in January of that year.

Since that time, Boot’s LinkedIn profile suggests he has been working on a freelance basis, taking on interim finance roles in the retail space.

He was formally appointed by CMJ as head of finance and business operations on May 30 on an interim basis and will now assume the role of interim chief executive following Hamilton’s departure.

While he might not have jewellery industry experience, there can be no denying he has a credible retail pedigree which has seen him steer some big high street names through periods of fairly seismic change.

Also, as someone who has had experience of covering the footwear sector from an editorial point of view for fashion trade bible Drapers, prior to joining Retail Jeweller, I am well placed to comment that there are many similarities to be drawn between the footwear industry and the jewellery industry, something which could prove of benefit to Boot at CMJ. 

These similarities, coupled with his prior experience, arguably make him a solid choice to help guide CMJ through what is likely to be a fairly testing few months for the organisation.

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