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Man Who Cut Disasterous Dick Smith Store Deal Now Wants Top Job At Myer

The man who cut a disastrous deal with Dick Smith is now in the running to take the top job at Myer after the dumping yesterday of Myer Chief Executive Richard Umbers.

Former David Jones boss Paul Zahra who allowed the disgraced CEO of Dick Smith Nick Aboud, to talk him into setting up an operation to sell consumer electronics in David Jones stores is now chaffing at the bit to get a crack at running Myers.

Currently a consultant at PWC, Zara quit the department store retailer after Woolworths a South African retailer acquired the operation in 2014.

The deal proved to be disastrous and the 27 concession stores located in David Jones stores (known as David Jones Electronics Powered by Dick Smith) were closed early in 2016.

Now it emerges that Zahra has stuck his hand up to take the top job at Myer after working as a global retail adviser for PWC. What’s not known is whether Zara could work with new Myer executive chairman Garry Hounsell who has never bought anything online and admits he only shops in stores.

Since leaving David Jones in 2014 after the $2.1 billion takeover by South African Woolworths, the 51-year-old Zahra has indicated his interest in returning to life as a retail CEO.

“I’m open to it,” Zahra told the Australian Financial Review a few years ago, adding that “nothing extraordinary” had yet come up.

The exit of Umbers who at the time was reviewing the Companies consumer electronics and appliances business has led to turmoil at the mass retailer who on one hand was cuddling up to premium electronics and appliance brands but on the other positioning themselves as a discount retailer with floors dedicated to distressed stock.

Now the Melbourne based retailer is in a vicious battle with billionaire Solomon Lew who also believes that he can turn the Company around. On his team is Mark McInnes, the man Zahra replaced in 2010 as David Jones CEO.

The Australian claims that Zahra has been in touch with Myer’s just turfed CEO Richard Umbers to talk about the retailer’s strategy.

Zahra is said by people close to his retail-obsessed brain to be brimming with ideas about how he would run Myer.

From gossip coming out of PWC it’s understand, he’s for brands not private labels. Although it’s not clear what even Zahra could do about Myer’s lease commitments on various badly performing stores.

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