Marketing WH Smith News

WHSmith names Carl Cowling as group CEO


By John Glenday | Reporter

May 21, 2019 | 2 min read

WH Smith has found a new group chief executive in the form of Carl Cowling, who will succeed his predecessor Stephen Clarke who has helmed the business for the past six years.

WH Smith

WH Smith succession sees Carl Cowling named as group chief executive in waiting

Clarke has previously signalled his intent to quit on 31 October 2019, sparking a period of succession planning at the stationery business, which has now asked Cowling to assume the mantle from 1 November.

Cowling was elevated to the WH Smith board in February of this year and currently serves as managing director of the chain's high street business, having cut his teeth as managing director of the retailers travel business upon first arriving in 2014.

Prior to this Cowling built his career during a decade spent with Dixons where he rose through the ranks to become managing director of Dixons Travel.

Clarke commented: “I am fully committed to working with Carl in order to ensure a smooth transition. After I leave WHSmith, I have no immediate plans other than to take a break.”

Addressing his own plans for the business Cowling said: “I am committed to continuing to deliver excellent shareholder returns and look forward to leading WH Smith to its next stage of growth, supported by the excellent teams across our Travel, International and High Street businesses."

WHSmith has become heavily invested in its travel business amid flagging high street sales, setting aside £155m to acquire US airport digital accessory specialists InMotion last year.

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