Retail appointments

Photo of Paul Zahra, CEO of the Australian Retailers Association.

Zahra to lead retail’s peak body

Former David Jones CEO Paul Zahra (pictured) has been appointed chief executive of retail’s peak industry body, the Australian Retailers Association, effective in May.

He will succeed Russell Zimmerman, who announced his retirement last November.

Zahra’s appointment comes as almost a dozen major retailers, including Woolworths, Bunnings, Chemist Warehouse, JB Hi-Fi, Super Retail Group, Costco, Harvey Norman, Priceline and Australia Post join the ARA, which has historically been made up of small and medium-sized retailers.

The presence of larger retailers, the Australian Financial Review, reports, will give the organisation more power and influence.

Zahra said he was optimistic about the future of retail despite the disruption and transformation of the sector over the past 20 years as a result of ongoing changes in technology and consumer behaviour.

Zahra has worked in retail from the age of 16, when he was hired as a casual shop assistant at Target Sunshine, before being promoted to become the chain’s youngest ever store manager at the age of 22.

He went on to hold senior leadership roles at Target, Officeworks and David Jones, where he rose through the ranks to became CEO.

Best Buy chairman steps down

US consumer electronics retailer Best Buy’s executive chairman, Hubert Joly, is retiring, to be replaced by J. Patrick Doyle after the shareholders meeting on June 11.

Doyle is a former CEO of Domino’s Pizza and the lead independent director on Best Buy’s board.

Joly, the leader credited with spearheading the electronic chain’s “surprising and storied turnaround”, will continue on as a paid consultant to Best Buy for at least a year. He will be working on programs such as the retailer’s teen tech centres, which host after-school programs for underserved youths in urban areas around the US, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

Pandora reorganisation means job losses

Danish jewellery giant Pandora is set to slash 180 jobs from its three regional offices for a strategic global reorganisation as part of its wider turnaround scheme.

A new company structure, effective April 2, will eliminate an organisational layer between the global headquarters and local markets.

Pandora will close its three regional organisations (Americas, EMEA and APAC) and group the 100-plus markets where it operates into 10 clusters, each headed by a general manager, a move that will see three top regional
executives lose their titles The total cost of the reorganisation is expected to amount to around DKK 1.3 billion ($302.2 million), with one-off costs of around DKK 0.2 billion ($46.5 million), primarily related to severance payments, additional consultancy support, extraordinary recruitment costs and other costs of closing down the regional offices.

David Allen, currently president of Pandora EMEA, will stay with Pandora and support the company’s turnaround plan, Programme NOW, while Sid Keswani, current president of Pandora Americas, will become president of the North America cluster.

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