Myer Appoints ‘House of Fraser’ Boss As CEO
Myer Holdings has today appointed former House of Fraser boss, John King, as its new CEO and Managing Director. The news follows the termination of Richard Umbers in February, and ceases the interim leadership of Executive Chairman Gary Hounsell.
Working out of Myer’s Melbourne offices, King’s start date is subject to visa approval, and yet to be confirmed.
With over thirty years of retail experience, King is credited with leading the “successful transformation” of UK-based House of Fraser from 2006, culminating in a $480 million sale to Chinese conglomerate Sanpower in 2014.
For the last three years, King has lived in the United States, working as a consultant to local retailers and start-ups.
Chairman Hounsell affirms King will bring a “new perspective”, following a “full mandate” from Myer’s board to “deliver an improvement in financial performance”.
As per an ASX announcement, King will receive an annual total fixed compensation of A$1.2 million (including superannuation), with A$900,000 equity in the form of share rights.King takes the helm after several periods of declining revenues, including struggling sales and Myer’s recent A$476 million record loss.
The departure of former CEO, Richard Umbers, followed a failure to birth results from the $600 million ‘New Myer’ turnaround strategy.
Hounsell asserts King “understands retail”, with demonstrated experience growing department store revenues, improving EBITDA and reducing debt:
“John understands fashion retailing and customers, particularly at department stores. He is an excellent candidate to lead Myer and I look forward to working with him to unlock the Company’s significant potential and deliver shareholder value”
“Over the course of his tenure at the House of Fraser, John and his team consistently grew revenues, differentiated the product offering and launched a successful online business, improved EBITDA and reduced the Company’s debt. They also refurbished more than 70 percent of the property portfolio and implemented a vision, values and culture program”.
King claims his appointment comes as “all global retailers” face significant market changes:
“I’m excited to lead this iconic Australian Company, which like all global retailers, is facing significant change in both the retail environment and consumer shopping habits. I’m looking forward to the challenges and opportunities of this role”.