The Warehouse Group’s departing COO Pejman Okhovat has been appointed as the new MD of Big W.
Okhovat’s resignation from The Warehouse Group effective in the New Year was announced on October 20, and at the time the New Zealand company said only that he was leaving to take up “a senior executive position with an overseas retailer”.
Subsequently, Woolworths Group has revealed he will take over leadership of the Big W general merchandise chain, replacing David Walker who is taking up a new role as chief risk officer within Woolworths.
Okhovat, who has an extensive background in non-food retail both in New Zealand and the UK, joined The Warehouse in 2005 and during the last 15 years has worked in senior operational and executive roles including most recently CEO of The Warehouse and Warehouse Stationery, and then group COO.
Group CEO Nick Grayston said Okhovat had played a key role in improving the performance of the red and blue sheds “to deliver a great omnichannel retail experience to our customers” including expanding the company’s online business and implementing its everyday-low-price strategy.
“Pej was also pivotal in enabling The Warehouse Group to trade through Covid during the level 4 and 3 lockdowns earlier in the year. On behalf of the executive and the board I would like to thank Pej for the significant contribution he has made over the past 15 years and wish him all the best in his new role.”
Okhovat said he was leaving the company with mixed emotions.
“It’s been a privilege to work for The Warehouse Group and I look forward to watching the company successfully deliver on its ongoing transformation and strategy to help Kiwis live better every day.”
Until the New Year, Big W will be headed by Big W GM of commercial, Teresa Rendo, as acting MD.
- Additional reporting by Tong Van.