Boots sacks head of HR in reshuffle

Boots has axed its group personnel director, and amalgamated its HR function
with logistics and manufacturing. But the healthcare retailer insists ‘its
people are still its most important asset’.

Last week, Boots fired group personnel director Andy Smith, a founding
member of Personnel Today’s HR Director’s Club, and Ann Francke, strategic
marketing director.

In a statement, Boots’ new chief executive, Richard Baker, said the smaller
executive team would help the company speed up the progress of re-focusing and
re-energising the business.

A Boots spokesman told Personnel Today that losing Smith after two years as
group personnel director was nothing personal, but fitted with Baker’s desire
to streamline the top of the organisation.

The HR function has been taken over by operations director Paul Bateman, who
will now be responsible for personnel, logistics and manufacturing.

Boots said operations was about managing people and that the different
functions under Bateman’s control had a natural synergy.

The company said it would ‘argue strongly’ that its staff were still at the
centre of the business.

Baker also said he wanted to devolve more power to store managers, breaking
from the company’s traditional model of command-and-control from its Nottingham
headquarters.

The financial markets reacted positively to the restructuring, with
investment bankers Lehman Brothers concluding that Baker’s reshuffle was an
"excellent debut", and the company’s share price hitting a 12-month
high.

By Michael Millar

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