Dick Smith CFO departs, more jobs go

dicksmithDick Smith is shedding 22 jobs, including that of chief financial officer, Michael Potts, as part of a restructure by the receiver of the troubled electrical retailer.

Former Woolworths executive, Bert van der Welde, will replace Potts on an interim basis.

Van der Welde’s experience has also spanned previous senior executive roles with Eldorado Company, and Metro Cash and Carry.

According to receiver, Ferrier Hodgson, the restructure affecting the group’s support office operations based at Chullora in Western Sydney, is a necessary step in creating a leaner organisation going forward while their discussions with interested parties continue. The departure of Potts follows that of former CEO Nick Abboud.

The move comes as Ferrier Hodgson reveals that as many as 3,200 current and former employees have been underpaid their annual leave loading entitlements dating back as long as six years.

The incorrect application of the relevant industrial award is estimated to have added another $2 million to Dick Smith’s outstanding liabilities.

Administrator McGrathNicol told a creditors meeting last month it had estimated employee liabilities of about $15 million, which included long-service leave and accrued holiday pay but not any potential redundancy payments.

There could be further ugly discoveries to come, with Ferrier Hodgson still trawling the Dick Smith’s accounts and reviewing other historical entitlement calculations to make sure they have been correctly paid.

The receiver said the underpayment only applies to Dick Smith’s Australian employees and any additional entitlements it identifies will rank as priority claims ahead of secured creditors.

The Fair Work Ombudsman, and Shop Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association (SDA), have been notified of the issue.

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