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H&M has appointed the first female CEO and reported its first rise in annual profit since 2015. H&M stock price has also surged.
Swedish multinational clothing-retail company H&M has appointed a new CEO. As a part of a complete board reshuffle, former chief executive Karl-Johan Persson stepped down. The new CEO is Helena Helmersson, who was previously the head of operations. Notably, Helmersson is the first female chief executive officer of the fast-fashion pioneer.
Now Karl-Johan Persson will succeed his father, Stefan Persson, as chairman of the supervisory board. The change came after his father Stefan said he would relinquish the role.
Stefan Persson stated:
“It is a natural change, after 20 years as chairman, to hand over to Karl-Johan, who has been CEO for more than 10 years. The timing is favourable for making this change now, since we have gradually improved profits and have a strong position with many well-established brands, millions of customers worldwide and good financial strength.”
“It is my desire that there will be a change in the chairmanship at the coming AGM and that Karl-Johan will take over my role as chairman of the board,” added he.
Helmersson seems to be a good candidate for the position. She started at H&M in 1997 and was in charge of expansion, logistics, production, IT, advanced analytics and AI and insights and analytics. Besides, she was the first to implement H&M’s sustainability strategy in the 1990s.
In addition, H&M appoints some other new executives. Chief Financial Officer Jyrki Tervonen will serve as a chief executive of Ramsbury Invest, the Persson family’s private company that acts as the formal H&M’s parent company. Adam Karlsson, the current head of controlling at the H&M brand, will replace him.
More from H&M: Stock Upward Move
The news that H&M has appointed a new CEO is not the only announcement made by the company. Recently, H&M reported its earnings for the fourth quarter of 2019 that exceeded analyst expectations. H&M a net profit of 4.21 billion Swedish kronor ($438 million), while analysts predicted 3.7 billion Swedish kronor. In the full fiscal year, profit grew to 13.4 billion crowns from 12.7 billion. The rise in sales resulted from big investments in logistics, digital technology, new store concepts, and independent brands to meet changing shopping habits and tougher competition. Notably, the rise in annual profit is the first since 2015.
Above all, H&M’s shares have also raised. Over the past year, shares in H&M have gained more than 35%, beating the OMX Stockholm index, which is up 19%. Currently, a price per H&M share makes up 205.13 Swedish kronor.
With the change in H&M board, the company believes to further implement new strategies and increase its sales.
“I feel confident in handing over the CEO role to Helena, who is an experienced and great leader who embodies our values. Helena will continue to work on the plan that we have adopted for 2020 and onwards.”
As for Helena, she promises to continue focusing on digitization, blockchain, sustainability and exploring new business models that may include second-hand clothing. Hopefully, the worst is behind, and now the company will run its activity with renewed vigor.