By Adam Coleman
SYDNEY: Woolworths chairman, James Strong, announced the board’s nomination of Michael Luscombe to succeed Roger Corbett as chief executive officer of the Group from 1 October 2006.

The retail giant promoted Luscombe yesterday from head of supermarkets, the largest division, to managing director, from October 1. He will become chief operating officer from July 1.

In a statement to the ASX, Strong said Luscombe had had a long and very successful career with Woolworths in a wide variety of roles in retailing over nearly 30 years.  

 “He has progressed from joining as a trainee through store management, training and development, merchandising, and marketing, buying and supply chain management,” Strong said.

 “His most recent roles have been in key areas of the business as director of supermarkets, and prior to that in a leadership role in the changes via ‘project refresh’ to establish our international standard new supply chain and inventory management systems."

Strong also said Luscombe had worked closely as a member of the senior management team. 
“He is a very experienced retailer who knows the culture of our organisation."

Strong said the Woolworths board felt satisfied that Luscombe was a classical example of the Woolworths style – appointed internally and with significant retail experience across a wide spectrum of roles and areas.
"We look forward to a period of close co-operation between Michael and Roger over the next four months before Michael takes over," Strong said.  

Woolworths announced that CEO Roger Corbett will shortly reveal some consequential changes in the management structure in consultation with Luscombe.

“One of the strengths of Woolworths has been the depth and breadth of our management team, and the board looks forward to continuing to work very closely with management to sustain our success with Michael at the helm from October.”