Myer has appointed John King as CEO

Sam Tabone/WireImage
  • The former CEO of the UK’s House of Fraser has been made CEO of Myer.
  • John King said: “… this iconic Australian Company, which like all global retailers, is facing significant change in both the retail environment and consumer shopping habits”.
  • His base pay will be $1.2 million.

John King, an experienced fashion retailer, has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of department store Myer.

He is the former CEO of the UK’s House of Fraser, a business he restructured, culminating in a sale to Chinese conglomerate Sanpower in 2014.

His challenge will be to turnaround a businesses caught in the local bricks and mortar retail slump in the face of poor consumer sentiment and increasing digital competition.

Myer shares jumped on the appointment. At the close, they were up 8.4% to $0.385.

Myer Executive Chairman Garry Hounsell said: “John brings over thirty years of highly relevant retail experience across department stores, specialty retailing, premium global brands, wholesale apparel and discount retail.”

The previous CEO, Richard Umbers, stepped down in February as the department store continued to bleed sales.

The retailer reported a loss of $476.22 million for first half, driven largely by a $515 million impairment, with sales down 3.6% to $1.72 billion. Dividends were cancelled.

The Myer board is also under attack by its largest shareholder, Solomon Lew’s Premier Investments with a 10.8% stake, which is agitating for the chairman and directors to be replaced.

King said: “I am excited to lead this iconic Australian Company, which like all global retailers, is facing significant change in both the retail environment and consumer shopping habits. I’m looking forward to the challenges and opportunities of this role.”

King has for the last three years been living and working in the US where he has consulted to a variety of retailers and has been actively involved in a number of start-ups.

His base pay at Myer will be $1.2 million.

Hounsell says King has gained significant experience across all aspects of merchandise as well as store operations, e-commerce, sourcing and supply chain.

“Over the course of his tenure at the House of Fraser, John and his team consistently grew revenues, differentiated the product offering and launched a successful online business, improved EBITDA and reduced the Company’s debt.

“They also refurbished more than 70% of the property portfolio and implemented a vision, values and culture program.

“John understands fashion retailing and customers, particularly at department stores.”

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