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New WHSmith CEO Assures Hodder Not for Sale

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April 15-30, 2004 Edition

New WHSmith

CEO Assures

Hodder Not for Sale

LONDON/04/07/04—Rumors that WHSmith Plc. would sell its publishing unit, Hodder Headline, have been laid to rest by Kate Swann, the new chief executive of parent WHSmith, and the publishing group’s CEO Tim Hely Hutchinson.

Swann recently appointed her former Argos colleague Steve Robinson as director of finance for Hodder Headline, a move designed to insure that HH moves forward as one of Britain’s leading publishers. Robinson, 34, will join HH in September, reporting to Hely Hutchinson. He will oversee HH back-room operations, warehousing, customer service and administration.

WHSmith is one of the UK’s leading retail groups incorporating market leading companies in retail, publishing and news distribution. The Group has 1,464 stores world-wide, 30,747 employees in 12 countries and sales of some £2.9bn. Ms Swann, an experienced retailer who is expected to focus on the UK high street and travel chains. Ms Swann, an experienced retailer, is expected to focus on the UK high street and travel chains.

In January 2004, WHSmith had warned shareholders to expect lower sales and profits in the year ahead, and said it might even be forced to lay off some workers. But since the arrival of Swann early this year, the outlook appears more upbeat.