Woolworths Chairman Ralph Waters is stepping down after the supermarket’s full-year profit fell 12.5% from the previous financial year.
Woolworths made a net profit of $2.15bn for the financial year ending 30th June, down from $2.45bn in 2013/14.
The retailer this morning announced its appointment of Gordon Cairns to replace Waters when he leaves the company on the 1st September.
Waters’ departure follows the report that Chief Executive Grant O’Brien would also step down once a successor is found.
Mr Cairns said: “Woolworths is a great Australian business and it is an honour to be appointed to serve as its Chairman. It is a company that has daily relevance to most Australian and New Zealand families, whether they are shareholders, customers or employees.”
“The most immediate issue is to identify new leadership to take the business forward. The CEO search process has been underway since June and is progressing well.”
“Ralph Waters’ decision to retire has facilitated board renewal and allows me to participate in the CEO search process. I acknowledge and thank him for his strong contribution over the past four and a half years.”
Woolworths spent more than $200m on improving its supermarkets during the second half of the year, including lowering prices and improving the quality of its products.
The extra investment in the supermarket business contributed to the slide in net profit, which was also weighed down by other one-off costs including $148m linked to its efforts to turn around Big W.