Woolworths names new CEO

Woolworths Supermarket AustraliaWoolworths has unveiled a total first-half loss of $2.09 billion and appointed Brad Banducci as its new chief executive.

The hit came from a $3.25 billion one-off impairment on Woolworth’s exit from its Masters home improvement stores. The loss attributable to equity holders was $972.7 million.

Revenue from Australian food, liquor and petrol declined 2.58 per cent to $24.96 billion.

The company cut its interim dividend from 67 to 44 cents per share, fully franked.

Woolworths in January announced it was closing its loss-making Masters stores, which had failed to challenge the dominant Bunnings chain owned by rival Wesfarmers.

“The decision to exit home improvement will allow Woolworths to focus its energy and resources on strengthening and executing its plans in its core businesses,” chairman Gordon Cairns said.

Banducci will now be tasked with leading the company’s revival, although he will continue to fill his former role of managing director of Woolworths Food Group until a replacement is found.

Woolworths had been looking for a chief executive since June, when Grant O’Brien said he was quitting. O’Brien leaves the business today and will no longer exercise the responsibilities and powers of the CEO position with immediate effect.

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

Banducci said he was “honoured to be appointed s the chief executive officer of Woolworths” and excited to lead the “200,000 strong team into the next chapter.”

He will assume the role of CEO and managing director effective immediately, in addition to his continued role as MD of the Woolworths Food Group.

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