Angling Direct, the largest specialist fishing tackle and equipment retailer in the UK, announces that after 17 years of leading the business, Darren Bailey has decided to step down from his role as CEO with immediate effect. Bailey will remain on the board as a non-executive director. Andy Torrance, who joined the company in October 2019 as a non-executive director, has been appointed as the company’s new CEO.
Since joining Angling Direct in 2003, Bailey has helped grow the company’s UK store network from 3 to 34 branches as well as overseeing the major expansion of Angling Direct’s online offering. Darren guided Angling Direct through its successful AIM admission in 2017 and subsequent fundraising in 2018, which have enabled the business to double its UK store network and to launch dedicated native language websites for the German, French and Benelux markets, significantly enhancing the company’s European sales.
Torrance has extensive experience working for brands with customer centric omni-channels and substantial European presence. Andy previously held chief operating officer roles at Dunelm and Holland & Barrett and a number of executive roles during a 12-year period at Halfords.
Martyn Page, executive chairman, commented: “Both myself and the entire Angling Direct team are hugely grateful for everything Darren has done to make the business the success it is today. Whilst he feels it is the right time to pass on the baton, we are especially pleased he is remaining as a Non-Executive Director and valuable adviser to the Company.
“We are excited to have Andy Torrance as the Company’s new CEO given his specialist retail sector and European scaling experience. Since joining the Board last year, he has shown great passion for, and understanding of, this specialist business and provided valuable advice and input on our growth strategy. As such, we believe he is the ideal person to take the business to the next level.”
Outgoing CEO, Bailey, commented: “It has been a huge pleasure to lead such a fantastic and passionate business, driven by dedicated staff and together establishing Angling Direct as a European brand. Importantly, our customers and our work to promote the awareness of fishing have remained at the heart of Angling Direct’s culture throughout, which has been integral to our success. I am looking forward to supporting Andy and the business as a Non-Executive and shareholder.”
Incoming CEO, Torrance, commented: “I am delighted to be taking over as CEO of Angling Direct. Darren and his team have done an excellent job at rapidly building our brand, both online and through store expansion. I am looking forward to consolidating that base and leading the business into the next phase of our exciting growth plans.”