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David Jones’ CEO Paul Zahra steps down

RBR Staff Writer Published 13 August 2014

Paul Zahra, the CEO of Australia-based David Jones has announced his resignation, in the wake of the retailer's takeover by Woolworths South Africa for $2.2bn.

David jones

Woolworths, which owns 88% of Country Road, is pushing through a series of new management changes as it intends to transform the upmarket department store after its $2.2bn takeover bid for the group.

The retailer noted that Zahra would continue for three months on an advisory capacity to ensure a smooth handover of the business.

Iain Nairn, the chief executive of Country Road, will replace Zahra at David Jones.

Other management changes include David Thomas, also of Country Road, stepping in as COO at David Jones; and former Witchery head Matt Keogh as CEO of Country Road.

Zahra was appointed as CEO at the upmarket store four years ago, following the unexpected dismissal of former David Jones boss Mark McInnes.

Speaking about his work experience with David Jones Zahra said: "The past four years have been a time of great challenge and reward."

This is the second time Zahra has stepped down from David Jones. In October 2013, he announced his resignation due to differences with the David Jones board.

As part of the transformation, Woolworths intends to market more private label fashion in the stores, introducing a loyalty program and other operational changes to enhance profits over the next few years.

This July, the Federal Court approved the takeover of David Jones by Woolworths despite ASIC concerns.

Image: David Jones at QueensPlaza in Brisbane. Photo: Courtesy of MGA73bot2.