Matalan has announced that its founder, John Hargreaves, will return to the company as chairman, effective immediately.
In this role, Hargreaves replaces Steve Johnson, the Matalan’s executive chair, who is stepping down from the board.
Johnson first joined the business as non-executive chair, and he agreed to step into an executive role to help guide the company through the pandemic.
Hargreaves said: “I would like to personally go on record and thank Steve for all his invaluable leadership and contribution over the last two years.
“My belief in, passion for, and commitment to our business is stronger than ever and I look forward to maximising our growth potential, along with the senior leadership team, delivering true omnichannel value for our customers. On behalf of the board, I would like to wish Steve all the very best with his future endeavours.”
Johnson added: “It has been a pleasure to lead and work with all the colleagues at Matalan over these last two extraordinary years. Matalan’s great value proposition is well positioned to prosper over the coming years. I wish everyone in the business every success in the future.”
The news comes as Hargreaves lost a court battle with HMRC in February as he attempted to avoid a tax bill of up to £135m. He was ordered to pay the tax bill after the Upper Tier Tribunal ruled he owes Capital Gains Tax in relation to the £231m disposal of his Matalan shares back in 2000.
The tax dispute was ongoing for almost 20 years, and Hargreaves argued that he did not owe HMRC as, at the time of the sale, he did not consider himself a UK resident as he was living in Monaco.