Myer Reveals New Chair
Get More Commentary, Discussion & Market Information On -
From the fruitless defence of Spotless against Downer EDI, to another under performer in the Myer department store chain - businessman Garry Hounsell seems to be a bit of a sucker for the fruitless in corporate performance.
Mr Hounsell’s move into the Myer chair was revealed yesterday by the company in a short statement to the ASX.
It ended several weeks of confusion about just when the change at the top of Myer would happen and when Mr Hounsell will replace the outgoing Paul McClintock.
But the appointment reinforces one of the main criticisms of the Myer board that the company lacks retail skills on the board and especially in the chairman’s role.
He will now retire next month to be replaced by Garry Hounsell at Myer’s AGM on November 24.
Mr McClintock says the appointment of Mr Hounsell, who was last month appointed to the board as a non-executive Director and deputy chairman, is the result of succession planning announced at the retailer’s 2016 annual general meeting.
Mr Hounsell appears to be impatient for the struggling department store to return to profit growth, but stresses it will take time and hard work.
“I believe in the New Myer strategy which is helping the business to compete in a challenging retail environment,” Mr Hounsell said in a statement on Wednesday.
“While I am impatient for a return to profit growth I also understand that transformations take time and discipline.”
Myer last month posted its worst profit performance since listing on the Australian Securities Exchange in 2009 (when the shares were priced at $4.10 against yesterday’s close of 73.5 cents, down 1.3%).
Some in the markets see the change as a result of pressure threatened by yer’s biggest shareholder, Premier Investments and its chair, Solomon Lew who bought more than 10% of the retailer earlier this year at $1.14 and is now facing big losses on that deal.
Premier Investments is 43% owned by Mr Lew but it is unclear whether Mr Lew intends to vote Premier’s 10.8% stake against Mr Hounsell’s election at the AGM, a move that would force Myer to appoint one of its existing non-executive directors as chairman-elect.
Myer is almost half-way into a five-year, $600 million turnaround plan based on giving more space to popular brands, slashing private labels and shutting stores.
Myer executives will next month lay out how far the New Myer strategy has progressed and detail its merchandise, digital and property plans.
Mr Hounsell is also a director of several other companies including Treasury Wine Estates.
Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.
At the AFR he was a finance writer, Finance Editor, News Editor and Chief of Staff. At the Nine Network he was supervising producer of Business Sunday for more than 16 years. He has also written for other online and analogue print publications here and overseas.