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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Stuart Peskett

Thresher's chief executive, David Williams, is to leave the company. Williams has been with the company for three years, and is widely credited with turning round the fortunes of the UK's largest off-licence chain and restoring it to profitability. No official explanation for Williams' departure has been given, but in an internal memo to staff, entitled Initial transformation complete at Thresher Group', he said: Many of you will recall that we set out on our "NorthBound Journey" three years ago, with some very clear objectives in mind. These were to improve the profitability of the business and to put in place the management and operating systems expected of a modern retailer. We have achieved this, and much more. As a result of this initial phase of our turnaround being complete, I will be leaving Thresher Group and I wanted you to hear that directly from me. It's been an exciting journey and, together, we have made considerable progress. The company is unrecognisable from the one that we found just three years ago, and now is the time for me to move on to another challenge.' The memo goes on to praise staff for their extraordinary efforts', and points out that margins, standards and customer service have all improved, while at the same time costs have been reduced. A spokesman for Thresher said: David has announced to staff that he is moving on. He is a specialist in turning companies around. When the First Quench company, as it was known then, was acquired, it was in a pretty dreadful condition, making a heavy loss, and had no real direction. He's turned the business around and has put it back on its feet, and now he's decided to move on to another challenge. He's in discussion with Terra Firma Capital Partners about his departure date and the recruitment of his successor. As I understand it, he hasn't got anything else arranged.'