Woolworths Holdings Limited announced last week it would be making executive management changes to some of its brands following its acquisition of upscale Australian department chain, David Jones. The South Africa-based company operates several retail brands including, women’s fashion brand Witchery and the Country Road department store chain.
Iain Nairn, chief executive officer of Country Road, will be replacing Paul Zahra as CEO of David Jones. Nairn has 30 years of experience in fashion and department stores in Australia and internationally. He was the CEO of the Witchery Group before its acquisition by Country Road in 2012.
According to a Woolworths statement, Zahra, who has been at the helm of David Jones for four years, has indicated that this would be the “best time for a change of company leadership and having established a sound base for future growth, would like to move on to new challenges.” Zahra will continue to work with the Woolworths Holdings Limited Management and Board for three months to ensure a smooth transition.
Witchery managing director Matt Keogh will replace Country Road CEO David Thomas, who will transition into the chief operating officer role at David Jones—a new position that has been added to the brand’s management structure.
Woolworths chief executive officer Ian Moir, said, “The new management team will complement the existing skills and expertise at David Jones to create a strong, innovative and fashion-centric business.” He added, “David Jones is an iconic Australian business with great traditions and values and we look forward to taking it to the next level.”
Australian court approved Woolworths’ takeover of David Jones last month for $2 billion. The acquisition is part of Woolworths’ plan to expand its global presence.