Ex-Aldi exec joins Super Retail Group

Benjamin Ward. Source: Super Retail Group

Super Retail Group has appointed a new managing director to its auto division, with ex-Aldi managing director Benjamin Ward taking up the position as of July 29, 2019. 

Ward will relocate to Brisbane from Dusseldorf, Germany, to replace outgoing executive Chris Wilesmith who will exit the business in August 2019. 

“Benjamin has consistently prioritised a customer-first approach to retail management, which makes him an excellent fit for our organisation,” Super Retail Group managing director and chief executive officer Anthony Heraghty said. 

“His most recent position, driving a technology focus to the in-store and online retail experience [of Aldi], makes him an ideal candidate to lead Supercheap Auto in its next phase of growth.”

According to Heraghty, Ward has been instrumental to the global transformation of the German supermarket, and will bring a fresh perspective to the position through his wealth of global retailing and supply-chain experience.

Ward said he was excited about the position, and looks forward to driving the next phase of the business’ growth. 

“I want to build on the renowned strong culture among our engaged team members to provide an even better experience for our customers,” Ward said.

Wilesmith will depart after 12 years at Super Retail Group, where he was responsible for Supercheap Auto’s retail stores, trade and online business, as well as the company’s Auto Trade Direct and AutoCrew businesses.

Prior to joining Super Retail Group, he was general manager at Toys ‘R’ Us and previously spent 13 years with Woolworths, holding senior management roles in merchandise, as well as retail operations within Dick Smith and Big W. 

Wilesmith’s exit follows ex-chief executive Peter Birtles’ departure, who hastened his exit from the business following a $45.3 million (A$43 million) staff underpayment.

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