Major restructure at David Jones as new sales and marketing team installed

By Patrick Avenell

David Jones CEO Paul Zahra has today announced a restructure of the company’s head office, with a large number of ins and outs at the publicly listed department store.

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In a statement that has so many buzzwords it makes no sense whatsoever, Zahra appeared to say that these appointments were made to turn around a company currently struggling to trade through a period of low consumer confidence.

“Our announcement today delivers the skill set and capability within the realigned structure that we promised in our Future Strategic Direction announcement and is one of the first steps in delivering our Three Point Strategy [Zahra’s caps throughout],” said the CEO in a statement.

Coming in to DJs are:

Donna Player as group executive – merchandise.

Formerly with Woolworths as the GM of merchandise and planning for Big W, Player is a 30-year veteran of retail management. Zahra said Player’s experience in “price negotiations with suppliers” will be crucial in her new role.

Matthew Durbin as executive – strategic planning.

This is a new role for the internal appointee, who has been at DJs in finance roles since 1997. Durbin will be responsible for implementing Zahra’s aforementioned Three Point Strategy and will work closely with CFO Brad Soller.

Sacha Laing as group executive – marketing and financial services.

Another internal appointment, Laing was the group executive for fashion and beauty. In this new role, Laing will be responsible for driving loyalty on DJs and American Express store credit cards. Laing has previously worked for Kodak Retail.

Adriane McDermott as general manger marketing – digital and advertising.

McDermott will report to Laing and is responsible for developing DJs’ online and social media activity.

Marion Joyce as general manager marketing – promotions and publicity.

Joyce joins DJs from Toys R Us, where she had a similar title. This is a return to David Jones after eight years in the toy industry.

Kate Whitney as general manager marketing – financial services.

Formerly the head of brand and retail marketing at Foxtel, Whitney will report to Laing in her new role.

Gavin Skews as general manager – AMEX alliance.

Skews has formerly worked in various CFO roles in the retail industry.

Leaving DJs:

Patrick Robinson, previously group executive – home and food.
Brett Riddington, previously group executive – marketing.
A “number” of unnamed head-office staff.

“Having the right structure within our management team is critical to us being able to implement our Three Point Strategic Plan and to deliver profit after tax growth for our shareholders,” continued Zahra. “I am confident that the appointments announced today provide us with the talent, experience and ability to transform our business into a successful Omni Channel Retailer on par with the world’s best [Zahra’s caps throughout].”

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