By Ian Neubauer

Tony Leon — the former general manager of Dan Murphy’s and the man credited for building the chain of large-format liquor stores into Woolworths’ hero retail brand — has jumped ship to Coles.

Leon, 50, who retired from Woolworths in June, has been appointed general manager of Coles Liquor with a brief of revitalising the business across each of the retail giant’s three liquor banner groups — Liquorland, 1st Choice and Vintage Cellars.

“I am delighted that Tony has agreed to join Coles and apply his considerable expertise in liquor to support Coles’ turnaround program,” said Coles managing director, Ian McLeod.

“Tony Leon’s appointment reflects a continuing trend of appointing high-calibre and proven performers to the team that is working to turn around the performance of the Coles food and liquor businesses. We are committed to providing the best possible leadership and management to support this task.”

Leon had worked at Dan Murphy’s for 23 years. He joined the group in 1985 and became an employee of Woolworths when it acquired the chain of five stores in 1998. He is credited for implementing a low-price, high-volume strategy that helped Dan Murphy grow into a national chain of 89 stores.

Leon will start at Coles on Monday (September 15).

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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