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Woolies CEO will be in for a really rough ride at AGM


Woolies CEO will be in for a really rough ride at AGM

Are shareholders really comfortable with Ian Moir running Woolworths remotely from Australia?

Larry Claasen

If Woolworths CEO Ian Moir thought last year’s annual results presentation was the toughest he’s had to face, he is bound to be in for a surprise. This year’s looks like it is going to be a lot harder.
A year ago he had to explain why the group had to write off R7bn at its Australian subsidiary, David Jones, which it bought for R20bn in April 2014.
David Jones has never really performed for the group. It was hoped that Moir, who had led the turnaround of its other Australian chain, Country Road, could work his magic at the poorly performing David Jones.
This didn’t happen. David Jones has not only continued to struggle, but its third CEO David Thomas suddenly resigned on Thursday. Thomas’s departure was followed by the sudden resignation of two non-executives from Woolworths’ board.
This year Moir will have to take questions on why David Jones is still underperforming, why Thomas and the board members suddenly resigned, and also why its SA clothing operation is struggling.
One question that could also be posed to the board is whether they are comfortable with a CEO running Woolworths remotely from Australia?

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