Harvey Norman exec named new Freedom CEO

Greenlit Brands has hired Harvey Norman’s Ireland CEO to lead its household goods business, Freedom.

Blaine Callard brings over 20 years’ experience at Harvey Norman Group to the role, having spent the past eight years heading up the retailer’s business in Ireland, where he oversaw its successful strategic turnaround and return to profitability.

Greenlit Brands’ chief executive Michael Ford described the appointment as “significant” in a statement announcing the hire on Thursday.

“I believe it attests to the underlying strength of our group, our corporate strategy, the formidable position that we today occupy and the opportunity we have to grow in the retail sector in Australia and New Zealand,” he said.

Ford added that the group – formerly known as Steinhoff Asia Pacific Group Holdings – has made significant headway since its rebranding and refinancing initiatives late last year, when it sought to distance itself from negative associations with parent company Steinhoff International Holdings NV.

Greenlit Brands’ group head of household goods Debra Singh noted Callard’s “superb track record” in creating a seamless customer experience, which she said will be key at Freedom, as it looks to grow market share across all retail platforms, both bricks-and-mortar and digital.

“I look forward to working with him as we take Freedom to the next stage of its evolution,” she said.

Callard said he was excited to be joining the 38-year-old brand.

“I am a firm believer that great retail will always thrive and at the heart of great retail is people. Freedom has a fabulous brand heritage to grow from in this regard with a coveted market position, store footprint, culture and “DNA”. I look forward to making a real and meaningful contribution to Freedom,” he said in a statement.

He will commence the position on August 19 of this year.

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