Myer appoints ex-Spotless Group head as new chairman

Gary-Hounsell-Myer-chairmanDepartment store retailer Myer has nominated ex-Spotless Group chaiman Garry Hounsell to be its next chairman, upon the retirement of Paul McClintock from its board.

Myer said as part of its ongoing board renewal program, Hounsell will initially join Myer as a non-executive director and deputy chairman.

Hounsell’s appointment comes after Myer revealed its struggles to overcome sluggish consumer spending and confirmed a fall in sales and profit.

The retailer’s statutory net profit for the 52 weeks to July 29 of $11.94 million, was down 80.3 per cent on the previous 53-week year, hit by $13.9 million in costs and significant items of $42.1 million.

“Garry’s deep experience and exposure to a broad range of retail-focused and consumer-facing businesses makes him an excellent addition to the Myer board and in the future as chairman,” said incumbent chairman, McClintock yesterday.

“We are now two years into our transformation under the new Myer strategy and today’s announcements will ensure strong continuity of the board’s capabilities in what are clearly challenging times for our sector.”

Myer said Hounsell has “first-hand experience of delivering transformational change in the face of competitive disruption”. Hounsell was most recently chairman and non-executive director of Spotless Group, and has served on the boards of Qantas, Mitchell Communication Group and other enterprises. He is currently a non-executive director of Treasury Wine Estates, Helloworld, Dulux Group, and Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation.

“I greatly respect the role Paul and the Board have played to date overseeing the new Myer implementation and look forward to making a contribution to Myer’s transformation and helping to deliver shareholder value,” said Hounsell, who will take over as chairman subject to being elected at the company’s AGM in November.

Myer also confirmed that JoAnne Stephenson would be appointed chair of the Audit, Finance and Risk Committee, succeeding Anne Brennan who will also retire at the company’s AGM.

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1 comment

  1. Jude Kingston posted on September 20, 2017

    Current Retail situation by Jude Kingston – JMK Style How can it be that we are seeing reading/hearing/watching about the struggles with big box retailers, Department stores and Discount Department stores. The retail landscape is and has been changing rapidly over the last 5-7 years and even more so over the last 12 months. I’m reading yet again about the challenges Myer are facing with another downturn in sales and a strategy that is not working, I understand that business need to look at a 5-year plan but this needs to have more fluidity and reaction time built in so actions can be taken a lot faster than they currently are. I have read that Myer are now looking to close poor performing stores, which is well overdue and to and replace 2 board members (with no retail experience) with experienced retailers, why I ask has it taken them 7-8 years to realise this…. I have worked in retail as a buyer for over 25 years (9 years were as a buyer at Myer) and have continued to see this trend playing out repeatedly. I believe its time to Listen to those who have knowledge and experience, be more innovative instead of behaving in the same way year after year, its clearly not working. There is talk abound regarding Amazon coming to Australia and it wasn’t until they knocked on the door of our retail world that we suddenly sat up and took notice. It’s not like they were new players in the market yet Australian retailers remained complacent and continued to operate largely the way they always have. We talk about online, social media and digital, yet retail sales in this country are still long way off the rest of the world with retailers still sitting well below the average, we are talking about less than 10% of overall sales coming from this online. How can this be? Retailers promise to provide customers with what they want however the timing of this is simply not quick enough, we live in a globally accessible world and we here in Australia need to be able to deliver. I’ve just come back from the US where online, same day delivery and overall customer engagement is paramount and way ahead of what we are doing in Australia. This challenge is not only with retailers but also with wholesalers, with a need for better relationships between all parties involved, factories, supply chain and true collaboration between retail and wholesale. Suppliers need to look hard at how they do business and what point of difference they have, do they support their own brand with online stock holding and marketing, are they directing customers to their strategic retail partners. On the other hand retailers need to stop turning to suppliers to financially prop them up at the end of each ¼ when profits are falling short. There really is so much work that needs to be done and those retailers that have vision (like Kmart, JB hi-fi and cotton on) will reap the rewards where others are still trying to figure it out. It’s time to create an engaging theatrical retail environment giving customers what they are wanting now! Bring to your business creative, knowledgeable and experienced people and make your working environment and ethos one that is in line with 21st century – change the way you think, behave, train and engage, you’ll be amazed by the results! reply

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