Dixons Carphone boss Alex Baldock ducks blame game in data hack fallout

Laura Onita
Embattled: Dixons Carphone has been hit by profit warnings and a data breach

The boss of Dixons Carphone on Thursday said it was up to him to clean up the data breach mess, nearly a year after it started, as profits tumbled.

Alex Baldock joined the embattled owner of Currys and PC World 80 days ago and recently criticised the failings of the previous management led by Seb James.

Last week he discovered hackers tried to steal millions of customers’ data.

He said: “We’ve fallen very short here. I’m responsible, I’m the one who needs to sort this out. This isn’t about blaming any individual.”

Pre-tax profits fell 24% to £382 million for the year to April 28, while revenues edged up 3% to £10.5 billion, boosted by strong sales in Greece and the Nordic region.

Baldock, however, warned that the company faced continued challenges at home, especially in mobile phones sales. Fewer people are changing their phones, hitting Carphone Warehouse.

“Market share pressure and profitability pressure… has turned a business that was making well over £100 million into something that’s barely profitable,” Baldock added.

Shoppers are also buying more washing machines and fridges, which cost more to deliver and install, rather than higher-margin goods like computers.

The chief executive said the company has launched an internal investigation after the data breach and will treble how much it spends on IT security. The blunder, affecting 5.9 million cards and 1.2 million records that held emails and addresses, was discovered on the back of a review that Baldock kicked off when he joined. He will also close 92 stores of 700.

The retailer narrowly dodged a £17 million fine because the assault happened before new European laws kicked in on May 25. It could be fined up to £500,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office.