Richard Uechtritz, the man who had taken JB Hi-Fi from obscurity to the top of the Australian retail food chain, has announced he will step down from his position later this year. Terry Smart, currently the COO of the listed retailer, will replace him as CEO. This change is expected to occur in July or August 2010.
In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange this morning, chairman Patrick Elliott praised Uechtritz for his 10 years of service at JB Hi-Fi.
“Richard has made an enormous contribution to the success of the company since leading the management buy in back in July 2000,” he said. “During his tenure as CEO, revenue has grown from $145 million to a forecast $2.8 billion in the current financial year, and JB Hi-Fi has been established as one of Australia’s most recognised retail brands.”
The new CEO, Terry Smart, has previously been responsible for store retail operations, inventory management and systems development. Elliott said the board has been grooming Smart for this role.
“Terry is a very talented retail executive and we are fortunate to have him follow Richard in the role. It has been the board’s succession plan for some time for Terry to follow Richard as CEO and we are delighted that he will be taking up the role.
Subsequent to stepping down, and a 6-month sabbatical, Uechtritz will rejoin JB Hi-Fi as a non-executive director.