Target boss Stuart Machin has quit

Photo: Gaye Gerard/Getty

Target managing director Stuart Machin has resigned from Wesfarmers, effective immediately, ahead of the release of an investigation into accounting issues at the retailer.

His departure was announced late on Friday as the parent company prepares to release the findings of an investigation into deals with suppliers that appeared to bolster profits.

Machin, who spent eight years at Kmart and Target, and was suspected to climb even higher in the company, has denied knowing about any collusion with 30 overseas suppliers, which allegedly bolstered profits the half-year results by around $12 million or 25%.

Details of the investigation by Wesfarmers and auditors EY were leaked to the Australian Financial Review

“I have been dismayed to learn of the accounting issues at the half year. I was not aware of these, but they happened on my watch and as Managing Director I accept my share of the responsibility. The right thing is now for me to move on,” Machin said in a statement.

“During my tenure at Target, although the financial results were frustratingly disappointing, I feel we made enormous progress in reshaping a very troubled business.”

Wesfarmers managing director Richard Goyder said the company had acted swiftly since concerns about Target’s accounting for commercial income were raised, and paid tribute to Machin.

“Stuart made a substantial contribution to the turnaround of Coles as Operations Director and put great effort into working to rebuild Target. Consistent with my experience of working with Stuart, he has co-operated well with the investigation,” Goyder said.