Woolworths names new CEO

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 26 February 2016
Brad Banducci

After an extensive search, Woolworths has named its current managing director of its food business, Brad Banducci, as its new CEO and managing director effective immediately.

In a statement made to the ASX this morning, chairman of the board Gordon Cairns says: “When I became chairman of Woolworths, I said that one of the Board’s top priorities was settling the leadership of the company. Today I am delighted to announce that the Board has appointed Brad Banducci as CEO.

“We undertook a rigorous international search process to find the best person to rebuild the Woolworths business and return it to sustainable growth. While there were several strong candidates, the Board was unanimous that Brad was the strongest of the field.”

The business has been without a CEO since June, when Grant O’Brien retired after four years in the role. O’Brien's departure topped off a management exodus at the supermarket giant, however with the business now having a CEO at the helm and a newly named CMO the brand may be set to turn around.

“Brad has had 25 years in retail, including 15 years consulting to some of the world’s leading retailers, as well as private equity experience in retail. He has had five years with Woolworths, including his role in leading the growth of Woolworths Liquor Group. During this time he was instrumental in the development of Dan Murphy’s, one of Australia’s great retailers,” Cairns continued.

“This makes him uniquely positioned for this role. He clearly understands the Australian market, has a total commitment to our customers, and a great track record of growing valuable businesses and developing his people.”

Banducci stepped up into his former role last month and previously he was managing director of the Woolworths Liquor Group for four years.

The news comes a month after it decided to exit its failing Masters Home Improvement business as well as Home Timber and Hardware through a prospective sale or wind-up process.

The supermarket giant also recently shifted its creative agency without a pitch. Surprising the market by naming M&C Saatchi as its new lead creative agency, parting ways with Leo Burnett.

This morning Woolworths also reported a loss of $972.7 million in its half year results, following pre-tax $3 billion impairment charges as it looks to exit the home-improvement business. Read the full report here.

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