By Andy Young

Woolworths Limited has confirmed that Brad Banducci, the managing director of its Food Group, will step into the role of chief executive officer and managing director, effective immediately.

Banducci steps into the role vacated by Grant O'Brien, who announced his retirement seven months ago. Banducci will also continue in his role as managing director of the Woolworths Food Group until a replacement is found.

Banducci said: "I am honoured to be appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of Woolworths Limited to lead our 200,000-strong team into the next chapter.

“I am a true believer in the potential of Woolworths and I am excited about our future. We are at our best when we are innovative and focussed on the customer and winning their trust.

“I am an entrepreneur at heart, and a retailer by discipline, and I want us to take our company back to its best levels of performance. My goal as CEO will be to recapture the spirit of innovation and customer focus right across the business, and to grow a culture where our people once again feel a strong ownership of the business.”

Chairman Gordon Cairns added: "When I became Chairman of Woolworths, I said that one of the Board’s top priorities was settling the leadership of the company. Today I am delighted to announce that the Board has appointed Brad Banducci as CEO.

“We undertook a rigorous international search process to find the best person to rebuild the Woolworths business and return it to sustainable growth.  While there were several strong candidates, the Board was unanimous that Brad was the strongest of the field. 

“Brad has had 25 years in retail, including 15 years consulting to some of the world’s leading retailers, as well as private equity experience in retail.  He has had five years with Woolworths, including his role in leading the growth of Woolworths Liquor Group.  During this time he was instrumental in the development of Dan Murphy’s, one of Australia’s great retailers. 

“This makes him uniquely positioned for this role.  He clearly understands the Australian market, has a total commitment to our customers, and a great track record of growing valuable businesses and developing his people."

Cairns also announced that O’Brien would leave the business today, he said: “After 29 years with Woolworths, including as CEO since October 2011, the Board thanks Grant for his service and wishes him the best for the future.” 

Banducci joined Woolworths in 2011 and was the managing director of the Woolworths Liquor Group prior to be made MD of the Food Group in February 2015.

The Shout Team

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

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