Myer’s new CEO John King has a plan to “turn this great company around”.
He will be working on the sales floor, serving customers two days a week.
As well as meeting with shareholders and other Myer executives, it forms part of King’s new approach to rescue the ailing business.
King spent Monday at Myer’s Doncaster store in Victoria, where he gave staff a pep talk before the store opened, and worked the floor and spent time talking to customers.
“I am confident that we can turn this great company around. We can rebuild pride, confidence and relevance in Myer, especially with our customers,” he said.
While he remains optimistic about the company’s future under his leadership, he acknowledges that Myer will continue to face challenges as consumers turn to online shopping, forgoing the traditional bricks-and-mortar shopping experience.
“This iconic Australian company, which like all global retailers, is facing significant change in both the retail environment and consumer shopping habits,” he said in April.
“With Myer team members, brand partners and suppliers, I will ensure we’re providing customers with the service, brands and products they want, and expect, from Myer; whether that be in store or online.”
King was appointed CEO when Richard Umbers stepped down as CEO earlier this year after Myer posted a half-yearly $500 billion loss in January.
As a result, Myer dropped off the ASX200 in March.
He also faces pressure from Solomon Lew, chairman of Myer’s largest shareholder Premier Investments, who is calling for Myer’s chairman and directors to be replaced.
Earlier this year, Lew said Myer’s sales numbers didn’t add up, and slammed Myer, saying it had “a failed board and a dead strategy”. UBS has even warned that Myer is in danger of a debt default next year.
King said that his belief is that it’s always all about the customer.
“We have to put the customer first — in every decision we make and every action we take,” he said.
King is the former CEO of the UK’s department store chain House of Fraser, a business he restructured, culminating in a sale to Chinese conglomerate Sanpower in 2014. His base pay at Myer is $1.2 million.
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