Melissa Potter and Robin Beacham, chief executive officer (CEO) and chief financial officer (CFO) respectively at UK footwear brand Clarks have stepped down from their roles with immediate effect. While the holding company C & J Clark Limited searches for a new CEO, non-executive chairman Thomas O’Neill takes over the position. Mike Coley, currently group financial controller, will be temporary in charge of the CFO role.

In a corporate statement, Clarks stressed the “highly demanding commercial and economic environment” it has experienced, “with increasing competition and intensified customer expectations.” Besides, the exit of Potter and Beacham could have been an intentional decision of the board as the following statement suggests:

“The board of directors recognizes the significant contribution of Melissa and Robin in the transition and growth of the business internationally in recent years.  However, the board believes that new leadership will help us to meet and overcome the challenges ahead and has begun the search for new leadership that is well equipped to see Clarks through this next phase of growth.”