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Petbarn parent appoints new chief

petbarnPetbarn owner Greencross Limited has appointed former Qantas executive Simon Hickey as its new chief executive and managing director, to replace outgoing chief Martin Nicholas.

The ASX-listed petcare company also provided a trading update on Monday morning, advising that it expects first-half revenue growth of 9 per cent to around $430 million.

First half underlying net-profit-after-tax is expected to be at least $24 million, which would be a 4.3 per cent increase on 1H17.

Like-for-like sales growth across the network was 4.5 per cent for the half, with the business performing in line with expectations, management said.

Announcing the appointment, Greencross chairman Stuart James signalled that the data-savvy Hickey – who spearheaded Qantas’ loyalty business – is well placed to maximise the performance of Greencross’ re-vamped loyalty program.

“We’re excited to have Simon join Greencross…he brings to the company extensive executive leadership experience with a significant understanding of complex competitive business environments and a track record of delivering customer experience and driving commercial outcomes,” James said.

Nicholas will retire from 5 March, but has committed to providing support to Hickey as part of a transition process for the first five-months after the appointment.

Hickey has overseen a transformation of Qantas’ loyalty business, expanding the program to more than triple its membership under his stewardship by creating more ways to earn points and launching additional services across the business.

Hickey will receive a base salary of $950,000 per annum, including superannuation in his new role, with potential for an additional $712,500 in cash and share rights if short term performance conditions are met.

“I’m excited to be given the opportunity to lead Greencross as it begins its next growth phase,” Hickey said. “With a large growing customer base and physical footprint, the company is at an exciting point where it can strategically use data to rejuvenate the customer experience and further grow its omnichannel business.”

James also thanked Nicholas for his near four-year tenure with the Group.

“Martin stepped into the CEO role during a turbulent time for the company and ensured that the synergies from our merger were delivered, maintained the company’s strong growth trajectory [and] evolved the integrated petcare model establishing 40 in-store clinics,” James said.

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