The New David Jones Chairman Wants Paul Zahra To Stay, And Will Reconsider A Myer Merger

David Jones Chief Executive, Paul Zahra (Photo: Getty)

Former Westpac director and Lion Nathan exec Gordon Cairns has been announced as the new chairman of retailer David Jones, and one of his top priorities will be seeing if chief executive Paul Zahra will stay.

Zahra announced his resignation last year, and there was speculation he and former chairman Peter Mason disagreed over some aspects of the company’s strategy.

Mason stepped down as chairman after shareholders expressed their dissatisfaction over two non-executive directors (legally) purchasing shares ahead of sales data and a merger proposal from rival Myer being knocked back.

Cairns will appoint external advisers to consider the Myer proposal, which was originally put forward as an all-script “merger of equals”.

“My first priority was to sit down and talk to Paul,” Cairns told Fairfax.

“I found the discussions with Paul really constructive. It is my top priority.

“As a result of those discussions I am very confident we will have an announcement in the very near future.”

He’s also detailed a five-point plan for his tenure to the Australian Financial Review:

  • To discuss the future of chief executive Paul Zahra, who has announced his intention to resign
  • To appoint external advisers to help the company review the Myer merger proposal
  • To consider the Myer proposal and explain the company’s position to shareholders
  • To complete the board renewal process
  • To complete a review of David Jones’s share trading policy and corporate governance practices

There’s more here.

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