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Wesfarmers sees management shake up

Guy-Russo Wesfarmers2Guy Russo is retiring as chief executive officer of Wesfarmers’ department store division and managing director of Target.

He will assume an advisory role to Wesfarmers’ department store division from November 1 until the end of fiscal 2019.

Russo joined Wesfarmers a decade ago as managing director of Kmart and led the company’s transformation before becoming head of the entire division in early 2016.

Wesfarmers managing director Rob Scott said that Russo had made a significant contribution to the company, and will leave a valuable legacy.

“He has led a world-class turnaround of Kmart into one of Australia’s best product development and retail companies. Under Guy’s leadership, Kmart’s earnings have increased more than five-fold and more recently he has led a significant reset of Target, reducing its cost base and returning it to profitability,” Scott said. “The record department stores earnings announced today demonstrates the enormous value that has been created for shareholders [by Russo].”

Wesfarmers’ department stores grew underlying EBIT 21.5 per cent in FY18 to $660 million, excluding a $306 million impairment on Target’s goodwill, brand name and other fixed assets. Russo said he was excited for the future of Kmart and Target, noting that “both businesses are well-positioned in the retail sector”.

Taking up Russo’s position as head of the company’s department stores will be Ian Bailey, who is currently managing director of Kmart. Marina Joanou, the division’s CFO has been promoted to managing director of Target effective immediately. Scott noted Bailey had already played a pivotal role in the turnaround of Kmart and successfully led the continued growth of the business over the past two years.

“I am pleased to announce the promotions of Ian and Marina,” Scott said. “Both have been outstanding leaders in Wesfarmers and their knowledge of Kmart and Target makes them uniquely well-placed to drive continued growth across Department Stores. These appointments demonstrate the strong talent development and succession planning processes in Wesfarmers.”

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