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Woolworths CEO Grant O’Brien Steps Down, Job Cuts Announced

Woolworths CEO Grant OIn announcing his resignation, O’Brien acknowledged a disappointing recent performance following Woolworths outlining its three-year growth strategy last month.

“At the recent investor day we set out clear strategies to grow our businesses over the next three years and we have been working hard to execute these plans,” O’Brien commented. “However, the recent performance has been disappointing and below expectations.

“I believe it is in the best interests of the company for new leadership to see these plans to fruition.”

O’Brien, who has been with Woolworths for 28 years, will stay with the company until a successor is appointed, with a global search to be undertaken.

Woolworths chairman Ralph Waters paid tribute to O’Brien “for his commitment to Woolworths over 28 years”.

“On
behalf of the board, senior management and staff, I would like to thank
Grant for his ongoing contribution and for his willingness to stay at
the helm until we appoint a successor,” Waters stated.

As part of its growth strategy, Woolworths is looking to achieve $500 million in cost reductions across the 2015-16 financial years, having last month announced plans to cut 400 roles.

Woolworths stated it now anticipates a total reduction of approximately 1,200 roles across support functions, supply chain and non-customer facing store positions.

Woolworths expects net profit after tax for the 2015 financial year of approximately $2.15 billion, down last year’s $2.45 billion.