Dutton to leave RONA

Robert Dutton, the president and CEO of RONA, is stepping down after 20 years at the helm of Canada’s largest home improvement retail operation. No reason was given for Dutton’s departure.

Dutton spent 35 years working for the Boucherville, Quebec-based organization, which oversees a network of more than 800 corporate, franchise and affiliate retail stores of various sizes and formats under several banners, as well as a network of 14 hardware and construction materials distribution outlets. Under his leadership, RONA expanded from a regional player with sales of C$450 million to a national corporation with more than C$4.8 billion in annual revenues.

Dutton opposed a $1.85 acquisition offer from U.S. retailer Lowe’s this summer, saying that RONA had a better strategic plan for its company. Lowe’s withdrew its unsolicited bid in September. 

Earlier this week, RONA turned in disappointing third-quarter earnings of $5.1 million, down from $47.8 million in the same quarter last year. Consolidated revenues for the third quarter were fairly steady at $1.34 billion, down $10.6 million or less than 1% from the third quarter of 2011.

Dominique Boies, executive VP and chief financial officer, was appointed as acting CEO until a replacement can be found, according to the announcement. The RONA board of directors has hired Korn/Ferry International to find a successor to Dutton.

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