Leading Edge poaches Dick Smith management team

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Three long-serving Dick Smith Electronics managers have followed the group of former DSE franchisees who announced yesterday that they had joined independent retail buying group, Leading Edge Group.

Leading Edge Group (LEG) has hired DSE's national development manager Michael Carr and merchandise manager Lee Scott to create a management team for its newly formed Leading Edge Electronics group. Carr, most recently heading up DSE's rollout of new stores, will join LEG as general manager of Leading Edge's Electronics group.

LEG has also lured former DSE marketing and sales promotions manager David Stuart out of retirement to join its newly created marketing division on a consultancy basis.

The announcement comes just one day after the news that 30 former DSE and Tandy retailers had joined Leading Edge after Woolworths, which owns both chains, had begun to wind down franchise agreements to pave the way for company owned stores.

Announcing the management walkout to <I>SellDigital</I>, Leading Edge Group CEO Keith Lane was unapologetic about the poachings.

"I haven't behaved badly. I determined who I needed to run the group, and did a search," said Lane. The three ex-DSE managers were "great retailers with outstanding pedigrees," he said.

"You've got to ask yourself why these people have left a massive company after years of service," said Lane, who claimed the new recruits had collectively clocked up 20 years at DSE.

Carr joins LEE next week, while Scott and Stuart join on 30 August.

The new management recruits have given Leading Edge enough management resource to create a new marketing division for its technology groups, which include computers, telecoms, internet and the new electronics group, said Lane.

The marketing function for the technology group, overseen by marketing manager Craig Kirby, will be augmented by Stuart's input on a consultancy basis, said Lane. Previously, marketing was the responsibility of each group's general manager, he said.

A spokesperson for DSE parent company Woolworths said that only CEO Roger Corbett could comment. He was unavailable prior to press time.

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