In a flurry of news, Ferguson announced CEO Frank Roach will retire this summer, parent company Wolseley plc will change its name to Ferguson plc and the national distributor released its first-half results.

Leadership transition

Ferguson announced Roach will retire on July 31. Current Ferguson Chief Operating Officer Kevin Murphy will assume the role of CEO effective Aug. 1. Roach was appointed CEO of Wolseley’s North American Division in January 2006, and in August 2009, assumed additional responsibilities as CEO of Ferguson. Murphy joined Ferguson in 1999 through the acquisition of his family’s business, Midwest Pipe and Supply. He has served in a variety of leadership roles and was appointed as Ferguson’s COO in 2007.

Under Roach’s leadership, Ferguson has grown through strategic acquisitions, organic growth and an unwavering focus on customer service, the distributor noted.

Ferguson plc

Wolseley announced a name change to Ferguson plc, subject to shareholder approval. Ferguson is the most significant brand in the Wolseley Group of companies and accounts for 84% of the Wolseley’s profitability.

“We are proud to have the Wolseley Group adopt the Ferguson name. We have built a very strong brand over the last 64 years and are known for our performance reputation,” Roach said. “The Ferguson name best represents the group today and will help create greater shareholder interest in the U.S.”

Effective Aug. 1, the new Ferguson plc will report in U.S. dollars, minimizing currency volatility. The company will remain listed on the London Stock Exchange and a member of the FTSE 100.

First-half results

Ferguson reported sales growth of 9.9%, increasing its revenue 5.4% on a like-for-like basis, which measures growth of Ferguson’s existing stores or branches open for at least one year. Acquisitions contributed 2.5% of additional revenue growth, with remaining growth from new locations and two additional sales days this year. The company’s trading margin was 7.8% and trading profit was 9.1% ahead of last year.

Ferguson reported it grew market share in all its major businesses. Residential and commercial markets, both new construction and renovation, maintenance and improvement experienced steady growth in the first half. Blended branches (locations serving both residential and commercial customers) continued to generate good growth from a combination of growing markets and market-share gains. The B2C e-commerce business grew strongly. Fire and fabrication, HVAC and commercial MRO generated good growth with waterworks growing more modestly in flat markets. Six acquisitions were completed in the first half of fiscal year 2017.