A NEW managing director has been appointed by Charles Clinkard, the retail and trading division of footwear company The Clinkard Group.

Established in 1924, with the opening of its first Charles Clinkard shoe shop in Middlesbrough, The Clinkard Group is now one of the largest independents in the UK.

Historically, the company has been managed by the Clinkard family with current group managing director Charles Clinkard being the third generation of the family to run the business.

Tim Payne is the first non-family member to be appointed as managing director of Charles Clinkard.

Mr Payne brings a wealth of experience to his new role, starting his career in retail as a distributor for Disney Store at their London head office, followed by seven years at Debenhams working in merchandising.

Mr Payne joined the Clinkard Group in 2008, starting in a senior role within supply chain and was appointed trading director of Charles Clinkard in 2016, working closely with group managing director Charles.

Tim said: “To be given the opportunity to run the retail arm of the business as the first non-family member is a great reflection of how much confidence the family has in our team and also a source of great pride for me personally.

"It’s a very interesting time to take on the responsibility of running a retailer; I started as managing director with all our stores closed, and after a month in the role they’re now all closed again. There’s nothing quite like an unparalleled challenge to start with.

“My primary aim initially is to manage our cash flow position without damaging the integrity and positioning of Charles Clinkard and the brands we offer.

"Once that’s been achieved, we’ll look to put building blocks in place to ensure we’re ready for growth opportunities when the Covid fallout has passed and the UK returns to something like normal.

"This will likely centre around pushing our eCommerce offer to ensure we’re satisfying our customers, balancing this with the right store portfolio and also reviewing internal processes to ensure they’re fit for purpose and the demands of the post-Covid world.

“Charles is a great communicator and he’s open and honest with information which I believe is a major factor in the success of the business due to its strong relationships with key partners - this is something I appreciate as hugely important within my new role and an ethos I will continue to follow. I’ve also picked up several other great learnings from working with Charles over the years – enjoy the job, keep a healthy work and family life balance, and always remember the customer is our business. The fact that he’ll still be involved alongside me in my new role is of great comfort.”