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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Christian Davis

David Wetz has resigned after only a year as the chief executive officer of Unwins, the troubled off-licence chain. The company is talking to an as-yet unnamed, experienced retailer with a view to appointing the first-ever CEO from outside the family. A joint statement to staff, from chairman Mark Wellesley-Wood and joint managing directors Simon and Philip Wetz, said: To increase our focus on the core retailing business of Unwins, it has been decided to seek and appoint a new CEO. Following extensive discussions David Wetz, CEO, has anounced his resignation from the business. This decision paves the way for a new non-family appointee to the post, bringing the necessary professional retail experience essential for the successful future development of the business. We are currently in active negotiation with a number of candidates for the role.' One insider told Harpers: The speed of change wasn't fast enough and David voluntarily stepped down.' David Wetz had been with the family company for 16 years and was head of Unwins' logistics department before taking over from Simon Wetz, who had also been forced to step down following heavy losses. Unwins has approximately 90 family shareholders. Another insider said: As a reflection of how successful the policy of making any employee with a semblance of experience and trade credibility redundant on principle, the main instigator is forced to resign by other members of the family after less than a year, horrified at the damage done to the business and its future credibility.' The official statement said: A number of new initiatives are in place to ensure our future profitability. We now need to ensure the necessary industry professionals are in place within our business at the appropriate levels to drive these projects forward and to establish Unwins as a retailing force for the future. In the interim, we shall be conducting an immediate review of each of these projects, to establish definite time lines and outcomes, and will be talking to each department head to establish a list of priorities for action.'