Former boss says he left Peterborough’s Ideal Shopping Direct in good shape

Mike Hancox, chief executive of Ideal Shopping Direct, who left the company recently.
Mike Hancox, chief executive of Ideal Shopping Direct, who left the company recently.
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The former boss of Peterborough’s Ideal Shopping Direct has spoken of his decision to leave the company after a decade’s service.

Mike Hancox (52) (pictured) joined the multi-channel retailer as chief executive in 2008 and since then has seen two changes of ownership and has also steered the company through some tough times.

But he said his decision to leave the business, which is based at Newark Road where it employs about 500 people, was not connected with the decision of the current owner - US-based equity funds manager Blackstone - to seek a buyer for the company.

He said: “I actually resigned last October but I was on a lengthy notice period - six months - and it was by April that I stopped going into the office.

“So I had stepped away from the business some time ago.

“The decision to sell was a surprise. I don’t know what is behind Blackstone’s decision. They didn’t speak to me about it but then there was no reason for them to do so.

“When I left the business it was in a very good shape.

“It had enjoyed positive trading for the third quarter of last year and its performance was very good this year.

“The company was still making a profit and I‘m sure it will carry on being a good business.”

The company’s accounts for the year to the end of 2016 show that it had sales of £142 million - down from £152 million the previous year. Gross profits to the end of 2016 stood at £61.8 million - down from £68.9 million the previous year.

The accounts state: “This was the group’s joint second best year in the history of the business.”

Mr Hancox said: “I was very sad to leave- it was the best job I ever had.

“It is a great business with lots of fantastic people

“But it was the right time for some one else to take it on.

“I’m not sure what is going to happen next but will I’m sure it will be successful because it is a good business.”

Mr Hancox, who lives in Cheshire, said: “It was a three hour commute to Peterborough each way and after 10 years I felt it was enough.

“I felt that I wanted a change and decided to go for a plural career with several chairmanship roles.”

He is currently chairman of Yorkshire-based Sigma, which provides shop fitting services, and a non-executive director of parcel delivery company Sorted. A separate chairmanship role is to be announced soon.

A spokesman for Blackstone said that Mr Hancox had not been replaced at Ideal Shopping Direct.

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