Former Adams Childrenswear CEO joins specialist search firm as chairman

Former Adams Childrenswear CEO, Michael Hobbs, has been appointed chairman at specialist retail executive search business court & spark consulting.  

Hobbs has spent over 30 years operating within the retail sector in roles with H&M, Burtons, Laura Ashley, Mountain Warehouse and was CEO of Adams Childrenswear, where he led an MBO to transform the business, doubling profits in three years and delivering increased shareholder value. 

In his role as chairman, court & spark said it will benefit from Hobbs’ considerable commercial and business strategy expertise, together with retail industry experience to help the business realise further expansion plans.  

Court & spark’s founders and joint managing directors, Claire Beasley and Pauline Wood, said they are currently driving the business on a growth strategy and in the last 12 months have made key appointments within their e-commerce, mapping & research and main board practice areas.

In less than 10 years Beasley and Wood have already grown court & spark from start up to create today’s six-strong practice offer handling retail operations, head office, main board, HR, e-commerce and mapping & research assignments.  

The business works with some of the UK’s best retailers, including Arcadia Group, Debenhams, House of Fraser, TK Maxx, New Look, Dwell, Selfridges, Gap, White Stuff and AS Watson. 

Hobbs’ appointment also marks a return to a more active involvement in the retail sector, following his last retail role as chairman of Mountain Warehouse in 2007.  

Having achieved significant success during his nine year tenure at Adams Childrenswear, transforming the mature, single format retailer into a profitable multi brand/multi channel business he stepped down to realise his dream of developing Appassionata, an Italian lifestyle business, incorporating property development, a vineyard and truffle plantation. 

Even though Hobbs has maintained his retail sector links through non-executive roles and involvement with other commercial ventures, his main focus has been Appassionata.   

As this business is now in the capable hands of his wife and daughter Hobbs said the time is right to increase his presence within the retail industry and his role at court & spark will act as the first in a number of new opportunities.

Beasley said: “Pauline and I are proud to have grown the business to its current scale and we are committed to fuelling further expansion.  

“The appointment of Michael Hobbs as chairman will help facilitate development of increased capability for court & spark.  

“Michael’s retail sector connections, novel ideas and business strategy expertise will provide Pauline and I with a great sounding board as we make key decisions to grow the business. 

“We wanted someone with a proven track record and fresh perspective to add value to our business expansion and it’s a real coup to appoint Michael as our chairman.”