Myer looks to UK for new CEO as ex-HoF chief John King takes over
House or Fraser may be struggling at the moment but its former CEO has proved to be an appealing pick for equally struggling Australian department store chain Myer.
John King was HoF CEO from 2006 for eight years and oversaw a successful transformation at the UK chain until it was taken over by its current owners.
His new job will be to pull Myer from its current malaise as it faces unprecedented challenges from international retailers in its home market and from the internet, as well as major changes in shopper behaviour.
Myer executive chairman Garry Hounsell praised his 30 years of retail experience and the work he did at House of Fraser where he was key in driving earnings upwards and differentiating its product offer, as well as launching it into e-commerce and refurbishing more than 70% of its properties.
He previously led Matalan for three years, and has also worked at Sainsbury’s and as a menswear merchandiser for Marks & Spencer. Since leaving House of Fraser, he has been a consultant in the US and has also been involved in start-ups, experience that will also be invaluable as he attempts to lead a turnaround at the Australian chain.
"During his career, John has gained significant experience across all aspects of merchandise as well as store operations, e-commerce, sourcing and supply chain," Hounsell said in a statement to the ASX Monday.
He said the board has given him “a full mandate to deliver an improvement in financial performance,” and it's likely that if he manages it, the rewards will be great.
He joins after previous CEO Richard Umbers was forced out earlier this year following three years in which the company's fortunes continued to decline. Investors certainly seem to be pleased about the new appointment and the company’s shares rose on Monday.
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