bizEDGE New Zealand logo
Story image

Smiths City starts search for new CEO after Hellings signals exit

Smiths City Group, the Christchurch-based retail chain, is looking for a new chief executive after long-serving head Rick Hellings said he plans to leave after three decades with the company.

The retailer's board has hired recruitment agency EQI Global to find a new chief executive, and Hellings has agreed to stay until a new boss is appointed, "to ensure a smooth transition," chairman Craig Boyce said in a statement.

Hellings' exit comes after Utilico Investments, a UK investor managed by Infratil director Duncan Saville, emerged as a major shareholder in June, buying former Datacom chairman John Holdsworth's stake in the retailer as it built up a 13.6 percent stake.

Shares of Smiths City were unchanged at 55 cents, and have dropped 8.3 percent this year.

The stock was seen as undervalued in a research report by Edison Investment Research in August, which put fair value on the company at 83 cents. The report was compiled at Smiths City's request.