South African retail conglomerate Woolworths Holdings has appointed Roy Bagattini as group chief executive to lead the business.
Current group chief executive Ian Moir will remain in his role leading David Jones, and will work with Bagattini to ensure a smooth transition of leadership.
According to Woolworths Holdings chairman Hubert Brody, Bagattini has extensive turnaround experience,which will be invaluable as the company continues to navigate the declining retail market.
“The experienced executive management team, under Roy’s leadership, will continue to drive the future strategy for the group,” Brody said.
Bagattini is presently president of Levi Strauss, and has been responsible for the brand’s global retail footprint, as well as driving the development and acceleration of its e-commerce and omni-channel offer.
The move gives David Jones a permanent CEO for the first time since early 2019, when David Thomas unexpectedly resigned, citing personal reasons.
Moir has been criticised for the purchase of $2 billion David Jones – an investment that he admits he paid too much for – and the announcement that he would no longer lead the group pushed shares up 8 per cent.
However, Moir has previously said he believes the worst is over for the chain after losing almost $1.3 billion over the past two years, and that 2021 will be a stronger year for department store in Australia.
“We’ve had many bad years at David Jones and learned many lessons,” Moir told DailyMaverick.
“We know more about the Australian consumer through fixing the David Jones business because we have collected data and research about what they want.”