THE BOTTOM LINE
Moir certainly not the merrier for Woolies, but then who is?
CEO may stick around, if only because the Woolworths board doesn’t know who to replace him with
The feeling among many analysts is that Woolworths CEO Ian Moir may hold onto his job for a while yet, even if he doesn’t turn around the floundering Australian department store David Jones. Remarkably, say analysts, this is because the Woolworths board doesn’t know who to replace him with.
If this really is the case then you have to wonder what Tom Boardman, Zarina Bass, Gail Kelly, Stuart Rose (who retired earlier this year) and Simon Susman have been doing with their time on the group’s nominations committee. One of the key focus areas of the committee is “succession planning for directors and executive committee members”.Succession planning is a critical part of any board’s job but few seem to get it right. Recently executive headhunters have spread their nets across the globe in search of talent with mixed results. Moir himself comes from Scotland via Australia.
Edcon’s headhunters turned to another Australian, Bernie Brookes, in the desperate hope he would be able to pull of the impossible and get Edcon back on its feet. Sadly it wasn’t to be.
Moir’s Australian background is a big part of why South African investors are now billions of rand poorer than they were in 2014 when he persuaded the board to buy David Jones. Not only has Woolworths taken a massive hit on that purchase but chances are it won’t ever come close to realising the initial grand objectives.
In 2014, during the Zuma-induced depression, it seemed easy to persuade South Africans to overpay for any sort of business as long as it wasn’t located in South Africa. The board should have known better. Perhaps it’s time for more than Moir to move on.