Kirkcaldy’s Karen takes a seat on the board

Karen Witts from Kirkcaldy has been appointed to the board of Kingfisher plc
Karen Witts from Kirkcaldy has been appointed to the board of Kingfisher plc

A KIRKCALDY woman is to take a seat on the board of Europe’s largest home improvement retailer.

Karen Witts has agreed to join Kingfisher plc as group finance director.

She will take up the role and join the main board during October 2012.

Karen will join from Vodafone plc, where she is currently chief financial officer for Africa, Middle East, Asia and Asia Pacific. Karen succeeds Kevin O’Byrne who will become Kingfisher divisional CEO, B&Q.

Karen attended Kirkcaldy High School before going on to study at Edinburgh University where she graduated in 1985.

She started her career at Ernst and Whinney before moving on to finance and management roles at The Observer newspaper, Mars Electronics, Diageo and Paribas.

She has significant financial, operational and international experience, holding her position at Vodafone since June 2010.

She worked at BT Group for more than 10 years in a number of financial and general management positions, most recently as chief financial officer of BT Retail and, before that, as MD operations for Openreach where she was responsible for a team of more than 30,000 telecoms engineers.

She has an MA (Hons) in French with Business Studies, is currently a non-executive director of Wolseley plc and is also a director of two Vodafone subsidiaries which are publicly listed.

These are Vodacom Group, which is listed on the Johannesburg stock exchange, and Safaricom,

Ian Cheshire, Kingfisher’s Group chief executive, said: “I am delighted that Karen is joining Kingfisher.

“She has an outstanding financial and operational background at BT and Vodafone, where her international experience will be very helpful.

“Her appointment will complete the group executive team at Kingfisher.

“It is a strong, diverse senior management team, ready for the next phase of our growth plan under Kingfisher’s ‘Creating the Leader’ programme.”

Karen said: “It is a great opportunity to be joining a growing, international retailer at such an interesting time in its development.

“I look forward to working with the board and the group executive.”