AO’s Steve Caunce to step down as CEO

AO World has announced that Steve Caunce has decided to step down as CEO and from the Board with immediate effect.

As CEO, Mr Caunce (pictured right) has successfully strengthened the Group’s organisation, senior management resources and operational plans. He has also rapidly expanded AO’s continental European operations and broadened the Group’s product categories, including through the acquisition of Mobile Phones Direct.

Mr Caunce has been a key member of the Group’s management team for over 13 years and, having led the Group though two years of intense activity, he has now decided to step back to a less demanding business role and re-balance his lifestyle. Mr Caunce will remain involved in the business on a part-time basis as an adviser to the CEO and the Board.

The Board has re-appointed John Roberts, AO’s founder (pictured left), as CEO. Mr Roberts led the business until February 2017 when he decided to focus on innovation and development projects. He now has a renewed energy to focus on the business he created and to lead AO on the continued execution of its strategy.

Reported today, Retail Analyst, Nick Bubb, told the BBC: “It’s always hard in these situations to know if the CEO jumped or was pushed, but on the face of it the move is very friendly: Steve Caunce was a bit stressed out with the job and John Roberts, the backseat driver, fancied taking the wheel again.”

AO Chairman, Geoff Cooper, said: “Steve has significantly professionalised and upgraded our business and operating capabilities. He has established and strengthened management teams in the UK and continental Europe, who are both getting on with execution of our strategy. As Chairman I have been impressed with his work as CEO; he has made a fundamental contribution over 13 years both in building AO into the business it is today and in setting out our commitment to delivering for shareholders going forward.”

Steve Caunce commented: “It is a privilege to have played a significant part in AO’s success and to have led the Company for the last two years. I have decided to step down at a time when I feel AO is well placed to continue to thrive as a leader in our sector. I look forward to contributing to the AO team as we execute our strategy.”

John Roberts said: “Steve has played a vital part in AO’s development and in the last two years has created the foundations for our future success. I look forward to continuing to work with him, as I have over the last 13 years.

“AO’s future is incredibly bright given our depth of talent at all levels of the business. I am fully committed to the business and the execution of our focussed strategy and can’t wait to get stuck in again as CEO as we move onto the next exciting stage of the AO story.”