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The DJs CEO merry go round

David JonesOh no. Here we go again. The top end of town (Woolworths, Myer, David Jones et al) seem to have caught the Australian Political Disease. Revolving doors for PMs and CEOs alike.

In October 2013 Paul Zahra resigned for the first time as CEO of David Jones after DJs posted a full-year profit of $95.2 million in fiscal 2013, a 5.9 per cent fall on the prior year. His resignation is later likened to John Farnham’s ‘off again, on again’ resignations.

Iain Nairn, who had run Witchery before Country Road bought it in 2012, is appointed CEO and in the past 14 months he turns around the department store’s decline and DJs reports the strongest sales in eight years during the second half of last financial year.

On Tuesday this week Ian Moir flies into Sydney.

On Wednesday Iain Nairn is unwell and will not be in the office for the remainder of the week.

Iain Nairn abruptly resigns Wednesday.

Senior staff are hastily called to a meeting on Wednesday afternoon.

Rumours are denied that Nairn’s resignation follows an investigation into his expense account.

Iain Nairn declines to comment.

DJs will be without a CEO for the next three months.

The immediate announcement that John Dixon has been appointed to succeed Iain Nairn suggests that this manoeuvre has been planned for months.

If this is the case, the expense account rumours are nefarious.

A fair question is “what on earth is going on at DJs?” Is this a Shakespearean drama, an Agatha Christie mystery, a Sherlock Holmes secret plot, or is this real professional business leadership?

Stuart Bennie is a retail consultant at Impact Retailing  and can be contacted at or 0414 631 702.

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