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Umbers steps down as Myer CEO

Petrina Berry  |  14 Feb 2018Text size  Decrease  Increase  |  
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SYDNEY - [AAP] Myer (ASX: MYR) chief executive Richard Umbers has stepped down from the helm of the struggling department store.

The retailer's chairman Garry Hounsell has been appointed executive chairman while a search for a new CEO takes place.

"We are impatient for a turnaround in the company's performance and the board has determined that it is in the interests of all shareholders for there to be a fresh approach to drive our future direction," Mr Hounsell said in a statement on Wednesday.

He said that at the time of his appointment as chairman in November 2017, he was impatient and this announcement reflected "my desire to drive, first-hand, the urgency required to deliver shareholder value".

Myer on Friday said it expects net profit of between $37 million and $41 million for the first half, down from $62.8 million for the same period last year.

But that excludes impairments the size of which it is still calculating.

Myer has in the past six months announced stores closures, shed jobs and written down various investments as Mr Umbers' turnaround strategy failed to gain traction against a backdrop of sluggish consumer activity and increased competition.

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Mr Umbers was parachuted into the job about three years ago. He first focused closing stores, culling brands, and focusing on "wanted brands".

The company's 2017 full-year profit was down 80.3 per cent to $11.9 million, partly due to $45.6 million in writedowns against its investments in TopShop and sass & bide.

Retail veteran Solomon Lew has been highly critical of Myer's performance and on Friday called for fellow Myer shareholders to "save the company" with a board spill.

Mr Lew's Premier Investments took a 10.8 per cent stake in Myer in March 2017.

 

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© 2021 Australian Associated Press Pty Limited (AAP) or its Licensors. This is the Morningstar service with content provided by AAP where indicated. AAP reserves all rights, including copyright, in services provided by it. The information in the service is for personal use only, does not constitute financial product advice (whether general or personal) and may not be re-written, copied, re-sold or re-distributed, framed, linked or otherwise used whether for compensation of any kind or not, without the prior written permission of AAP. You should seek advice from a professional financial adviser before making decision to acquire or dispose of a financial product.

This service is published for general information purposes only without assuming a duty of care. AAP is not in the business of providing financial product advice (whether personal or general advice), and gives no warranty, guarantee or other representation about the accuracy of the information or images contained in this service. AAP is not liable for errors, omissions in, delays or interruptions to or cessation of the services through negligence or otherwise. The globe symbol and "AAP" are registered trademarks.

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