Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci to retire

Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci is set to retire in September, coinciding with the supermarket chain’s 100th anniversary.

Banducci will retire after serving the company for 13 years, with eight and a half of those as CEO.

Woolworths, which is the parent company of the New Zealand chain of supermarkets formerly known as Countdown, has named current MD of Woolies X Amanda Bardwell as MD and CEO, effective September 1, following the release of the company’s annual financial results.

“It has been a privilege to be a member of the Woolies team and one I have never taken for granted. We have a wonderfully talented and passionate team at Woolworths Group as personified in Amanda Bardwell and I look forward to working with Amanda and our team over the next few months as we set ourselves up for the next chapter,” said Banducci.

“Amanda is a proven leader, business builder and modern retailer. Most recently, under her leadership, WooliesX has gone from infancy in 2015 to a $7bn market leading business. Amanda is highly respected throughout the organisation and I know, like Brad, will live our purpose and work hard to achieve Woolworths Group’s full potential,” said Woolworths Group chair Scott Perkins.

The announcement comes as Woolworths faces pressure over its price-setting practices in Australia, along with its rival Coles, and the market power of major supermarkets in the country.

A Senate Inquiry is underway, with a report due to be released in May. In addition, the Australian Government has launched an ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) inquiry into supermarket prices.

In a LinkedIn post, Banducci wrote that his decision to retire is not related to the upcoming price inquiries.

“This is a decision I have been contemplating for a while especially given it is literally 8 years since my appointment and as we go into the Woolworths Centenary and the timing felt right,” he wrote. “Not because I am tired or burnt out (I am as energised by our business and our potential as I have ever been) or [a]m worried about the various upcoming price inquiries (I am looking forward to effectively representing Woolworths at these important forums) but because I think a leader should go before they need to and, more importantly, because I believe passionately in the amazing talent in our Group and it is time to pass on the baton.”

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