Benjamin J Babcock has been elected chair of the board of directors of Spanish retail group Dia, having been appointed proprietary director by co-option in May 2023.
Prior to joining LetterOne, Babcock [pictured right] worked for Morgan Stanley as managing director in London. Before this, he was with Merrill Lynch and Lazard in London and Canada, the company noted.
During his career, Babcock has advised companies and investors on a number of recapitalisation, refinancing, and M&A transactions in the energy, transportation, telecommunications, infrastructure, and manufacturing sectors in Europe and the Middle East.
Babcock succeeds Stephan DuCharme [pictured left], who resigned after ending his relationship with LetterOne as managing partner of L1 Retail.
DuCharme joined Grupo Dia in 2019 – when LetterOne became the company’s main shareholder – as the non-executive chair, before moving on to the role of executive chair.
During his five years at the helm of Grupo Dia, he led the strategic and cultural transformation projects at the organisation.
DuCharme stepped in as chair of the board of directors in September 2022 with the promotion of Martín Tolcachir as the chief executive of Grupo Dia.
Grupo Dia has almost 5,700 stores in Portugal, Spain, Argentina, and Brazil, with over 33,400 employees in its stores, warehouses and offices, and another 19,500 in its franchise network.
In May of this year, the company reported sales of €1.78 billion in the first quarter of its financial year, up 10% from the same period in 2022. Like-for-like sales in the period increased by 7%.
In Spain, net sales grew 11.7% year-on-year, to €1.12 billion, with like-for-like sales up 12.4%, excluding the stores sold to Alcampo and the Clarel deal.