Mr James has been group chief executive of Dixons Carphone since 2014, having served as chief executive of Dixon Retail for two years prior to its merger with Carphone Warehouse. He will be appointed senior vice president, president and managing director of Boots, and will join the company in summer 2018 before taking up his official posts at the beginning of the new fiscal year on 1 September. He will be "contributing to the Group with involvement in a number of key areas," said Boots.
Current MD Elizabeth Fagan, who has been in post since June 2016, will stay on at Boots, taking up the newly created role of non-executive chairman in the new fiscal year.
Co-chief operating officer Alex Gourlay, to whom Mr James will be reporting, commented: “We are delighted that Sebastian James will join our company at an equally exciting and challenging time for the retail environment in the UK and for the future development of Boots, a brand synonymous with pharmacy and care. We are sure his deep retail expertise will drive significant progress and innovation at Boots for the benefit of all our stakeholders."
Mr Gourlay paid tribute to Elizabeth Fagan, commenting that she “been leading the business very successfully for the last 18 months or so, and in her over 11 years with the company has made an invaluable contribution. She will continue to do so in her next role.”
Mr James commented that he was “very excited to be joining Walgreens Boots Alliance at this time in its history, and to have been offered the privilege of leading Boots,” which he described as “one of the UK’s most iconic, venerable and trusted brands.”
He said: “At a time of unprecedented change in both the retail and healthcare markets, to build on the fantastic work that the team have done over the last few years, and to be a part of the next chapter for this great company, is an extraordinary opportunity.”