By Keri Algar

SYDNEY, NSW: Newly appointed David Jones CEO, Paul Zahra, has placed a media ban on himself until the end of August. It comes during significant company activity, including the expansion of current leases and premature departure from others. approached David Jones to seek an interview with Zahra and was told the company was on “black-out” terms with the media, in stark contrast with JB Hi-Fi new CEO Terry Smart, who availed himself to the media immediately.

A very busy two months ahead of the fourth quarter was quoted as reason for the media black-out, by Helen Karlis, general manager of corporate affairs and investor relations for David Jones.

David Jones has moved with swift precision since McInnes’ departure a little over a month ago, releasing itself from leases in Toombul and Fountain Gate while expanding its store presence in the more affluent suburbs of Karrinyup and Chermside.

It is not the first time David Jones has experienced noteworthy change in accordance with Zahra’s personal appointments.

Since 2003, when Zahra was appointed group general manager, 300 recognised new brands have been introduced including 60 new young brands, as well as a David Jones American Express card, which earned $41.3 million in 2008 and is growing by a reported 7.5 per cent.

These changes are cited for the company’s “significantly improved profitability” and dividend growth over 3.5 times from 2003 to 2007, according to the FY09 – 12 Strategic Plan.