Woolworths appoints new chief executive

Retailer Woolworths has appointed Roy Bagattini as its new group chief executive officer (CEO), with former chief Ian Moir set to step down on 16 February.

Moir will work closely with Bagattini as part of a handover process, and will also continue in his role as acting CEO of David Jones.

Bagattini joins Woolworths from global denim brand Levis Strauss, where he presently serves as president for the Americas for Levi Strauss & Company.

He has been responsible for leading the company’s largest commercial operations, including a significant network of retail stores, spanning the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Latin America, and also played an instrumental role in the development and acceleration of thee-commerce and omni-channel capabilities of Levi Strauss.

He also served as president (Asia) for the Carlsberg Group, and was regional MD for SABMiller, having served at the group for 18 years, ending in 2009.

Moir joined Woolworths in January 2010 and was appointed CEO in November of that year.

He oversaw a period of significant growth and transformation at the group, but also headed the retailer’s troubled venture into Australia through the acquisition of the David Jones brand.

The move began to unravel through a string of changes – notably a head office move to Melbourne from Sydney that required about 75% of the workforce to be replaced. Two write downs of the business followed.

For the 2019 financial year, Woolworths said that challenging economic and trading conditions in both South Africa and Australia continued to weigh on its financial results.

Despite reporting a 6.5% jump in revenue, and a 6.1% increase in turnover and concession sales, headline earnings per share declined to 342.9 cents per share, from 346.3 cents per share before, while adjusted headline earnings per share declined by 2.1%.

The group had written down the value of its Australian chain David Jones by A$437.4 million, reducing its valuation to approximately A$965.0 million.

South Africa’s operations were boosted by its fashion business as well as an increase in digital sales, however food continued to be the real hero as sales increased by 7.7% for the year, with second half growth of 9.0%.

Read: Woolworths boss scores big payday

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Woolworths appoints new chief executive