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Carpetright bets on Walsh as Harrises depart

WilfwalshCarpetright is to be run by a betting industry veteran as a change in management marks the end of an era.

Carpetright founder Lord Harris is to retire from the flooring retailer in September, having concluded the search for a chief executive.

Wilf Walsh will become chief executive on 21 July. He was previously md of HMV Germany, md of Coral for eight years and is a non-executive director of Gala Coral Group. In 2009 he joined Fortuna Entertainment Group as vice-chairman, becoming chairman in 2012. He will leave the betting group next month.

As well as Lord Harris's retirement, Martin Harris is to leave and Graham Harris has left.

'I will be 72 this year and shareholders will be aware that I have been planning a managed hand-over of my responsibilities for some time. I am delighted that Wilf Walsh has agreed to join Carpetright as chief executive. He has strong retail and online credentials and a successful track record in managing multi-site consumer-facing businesses. I am confident that I will be leaving the business in safe hands,' says Lord Harris.

'Carpetright is a great brand and I am looking forward to working with the team to drive profitability and share going forward. Lord Harris has 56 years in the carpet business and will be a hard act to follow but the market-leading position he has built for the business is an excellent place from which to start,' say Walsh.

Harris will retire after the chain's AGM on 4 September. His son Martin, group development director, will also leave that day 'to persue other business opportunities'.

Graham Harris, who was appointed chief operating officer last October after the departure of chief executive Darren Shapland, has left 'as his role has become redundant'.