David Jones boss Paul Zahra has quit the department store chain, to be replaced by Country Road head Ian Nairn.
The move comes just weeks after South African retailer Woolworths finalised its $2.2 billion takeover of David Jones and took full ownership of the Country Road retail chain.
This morning it started to make a raft of senior executive changes and sweeping changes to the department store, which will include more private label fashion in stores, a loyalty program and other operational changes with the aim of raising profits by $130 million.
Woolworths said Mr Zahra had resigned with immediate effect, but would stay on for three months to hand over to Mr Nairn.
“Mr Zahra has indicated that this would be the best time for a change of leadership in the company and having established a sound base for future growth, would like to move on to new challenges,” the company said in a statement on Tuesday.
Mr Nairn has three decades of experience in specialty fashion and department stores in Australia and overseas.
He had run Witchery before Country Road bought it in 2012.
Woolworths has appointed Witchery’s current boss, Matt Keogh, as the new head of Country Road.
Woolworths head Ian Moir said Mr Zahra had provided David Jones with a strong platform for growth.
“The new management team will complement the existing skills and expertise at David Jones to create a strong, innovative and fashion-centric business,” he said.
“David Jones is an iconic Australian business with great traditions and values and we look forward to taking it to the next level.”
Mr Zahra said David Jones’ strong financial performance in the past year had helped create a natural exit point for him from Australia’s oldest department store.
“It has been a privilege to be the steward of such an iconic Australian brand with an extraordinary team of people,” he said.