Pure Beauty

Boots Managing Director Sebastian James exits

By Alessandro Carrara | Published: 1-Jul-2024

James’ departure comes after Walgreens Boots Alliance halted plans for a potential initial public offering (IPO) of Boots in June

Boots Managing Director Sebastian James has stepped down after six years with the company. 

James will remain in the role until November 2024 while the British beauty and health retailer searches for his replacement.

“On behalf of all colleagues at WBA and Boots, I would like to thank Seb for his role in the success of the business over the past years,” said Ornella Barra, Chief Operating Officer, International at Walgreens Boots Alliance.

“His tenure has seen the company transform through a steadfast focus on investment, innovation and growth into the number one health and beauty destination in the UK.”

James joined Boots from Currys, formerly Dixons Carphone, in 2018, where he served as group CEO of the electrical retailer.

He was previously Chairman of Ink Publishing, a private equity-backed start-up that publishes in-flight magazines.

“Now in its 175th year, Boots has shaped how people access health and beauty products on the high street and I am proud to have been part of a business that continues to hold a critical role at the centre of the UK health and beauty sectors,” commented James.

“I look forward to seeing the business continue to succeed under its excellent leadership team.”

James’ exit comes after Boots’ parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance halted plans for a potential initial public offering (IPO) of the UK health and beauty chain in June.

It follows the US pharmacy company cutting its profit outlook during the business’s latest trading update, which saw its share price fall to its lowest level since 1997.

Walgreens Boots Alliance now plans to close up to 700 of its own underperforming stores in the states.

Boots, however, reported its 12th consecutive quarter of retail market share growth in April.

Sales increased 6.3% to $37.1bn, which was driven by a bumper Christmas trading period and in-store footfall over the past three months.

The health and beauty retailer also saw increased online purchases of beauty and personal care products, resulting in a 6.8% jump in digital sales.

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