By James Wells

BRISBANE: Everard Johnson, the architect behind the rejuvenation of the Betta Electrical brand and the formation of Betta Stores Retail (BSR) after the collapse of the Newcastle Stock Exchange listed Betta Stores Limited, has resigned as chairman of the group.

In a statement issued by BSR this morning, Johnson said he will step down to concentrate on his business and spend more time with his family.

"Mr Johnson said it was with great reluctance he made the decision to retire and he remained committed to the BSR group as a member retailer," the statement said.

"The BSR board thanked Mr Johnson for playing an integral role in the emergence of BSR as a strong and robust national franchise group during the past six months. However, Mr Johnson said it was now appropriate for him to concentrate on his own retail business interests, well-being and his family life.

“The BSR Group remains an on-going passion of mine and the past six months have been both personally and professionally fulfilling for me,” he said. “I and my business partner Ian Murdon are great supporters of the BSR Group and are excited at expanding our own businesses with support from the management and the new board.”

"Mr Johnson’s resignation is effective immediately. Garry Thyer will become interim chairman, with Rex Graham the other member of the board. A new board will be elected at the BSR annual conference in July.

"Mr Johnson said BSR had achieved its key goals since it was formed last year to meet the buying and marketing needs of Betta Electrical and Chandlers retailers who acquired the brands after franchisor Betta Stores Limited was placed in administration," the statement said.

“The number one objective of the board from November 2006 was stability, both for the group and for its retailers,” Johnson said in the statement.

“I believe, after less than one year of trading, we have achieved this and provided a firm foundation on which to expand our retailer’s businesses.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to recognise the commitment and support that all of my fellow retailers have given to the group and also want to personally thank our loyal supplier partners. I greatly value their associations with us and appreciate the hard work and assistance they provided when it was needed the most.

“It is with the utmost confidence that I leave the company in the hands of our current board and management team,” Johnson said.

“BSR retail members should continue to feel very proud of our new company. The future of the Betta Electrical and Chandlers brands is finally in the hands of the retailers.”