Australian business titan Richard Goyder to step down as head of Wesfarmers

Richard Goyder. Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

Richard Goyder is stepping down as managing director of Wesfarmers after 12 years heading Australia’s largest private employer.

He will be replaced by Rob Scott who started at Wesfarmers in Perth in 1993 before moving into investment banking where he had various roles in corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions.

Scott will be the company’s eighth managing director and CEO in 103 years.

Richard Goyder, 57, who joined Wesfarmers in 1993 and became managing director in July 2005, is a titan of Australian industry.

He says the decision to retire had not been an easy one.

“I continue to enjoy the challenges of leading this outstanding and diverse company and appreciate the opportunities it has given me,” he says.

“I look forward to working with Rob (Scott) on a seamless transition in the months ahead.”

The company’s value has increased to around $50 billion from $15 billion, including the transformative acquisition of the Coles Group in 2007, since Goyder has been CEO.

Last year Wesfarmers posted a 83% fall in full year profit to $407 million, dragged down by impairments on Target stores and its coal assets. The company is due to release half year results this week.

Scott, aged 47, becomes deputy CEO effective immediately and will join the board as managing director at the end of the 2017 annual general meeting in November.

He rejoined Wesfarmers in 2004 before being appointed managing director of the Wesfarmers insurance division in 2007 and then finance director of Coles in February 2013.

He was appointed managing director financial services in October 2014. In August 2015, he became managing director of the new Wesfarmers industrials division.

Chairman Michael Chaney says Scott’s appointment continues Wesfarmers’ unbroken tradition of appointing its chief executives from within the group.

“Rob has a proven capability to deliver improved business performance and to lead change through building great teams around him,” Chaney says. “Importantly, he is deeply grounded in Wesfarmers’ culture and disciplined focus on sustainable shareholder returns.”

Scott says its an honour, privilege and great responsibility to be appointed CEO.

“The Wesfarmers approach to business is ingrained in me and provides our teams with a platform to innovate and develop world class businesses,” he says.

Scott will return with his family to his home city of Perth from Sydney.

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