By James Wells

PERTH: Retravision chairman, Bill Harries, today outlined the reasons for the restructure to the business in a letter sent to suppliers and has announced that the national office will close on 30 September.

“On 14th March 2007 we held a workshop for major suppliers where we explained what happened to the Retravision NSW business and what steps we were taking to ensure that we recovered from this setback as quickly as possible,” Harries said in the letter.

“We have been incredibly busy as an organisation since that date, not least in the quest to generate additional sales across our organisation in order to make up the lost business in NSW, and we hope that you can already see this recovery taking place.

“That said, it was clear to Retravision’s National Board Directors and Senior Management Group that a more radical business review and change program was required after the demise of the NSW business and I alluded to this at our recent National Seminar in Alice Springs.

“I believe we clearly outlined our growth plans to you on the 14th March but did not outline our thinking around simplifying and aligning our business at that stage. It is in these areas that we have been reviewing options in recent weeks and I am pleased to outline some key changes we are about to make to our mutual benefit.

“With effect from 1st July 2007, we have appointed Ken Chamberlain to the role of National Merchandise Manager to represent the entire organisation with regard to all aspects of negotiating National Trading Terms and to drive the strategic planning processes required to achieve mutually successful outcomes for our businesses.

“Many of you will be familiar with Ken and the very impressive track record he built with one of our retail competitors over recent years. His ability to create strategic partnerships through analysis and planning is well known.

“In order to ensure that we engage in a more effective national buying process immediately, all Category Team Leaders will report to him on all aspects of the national buying process. The region-based Retravision companies are committed to supporting this national approach without deviation.

“In the longer term, the National Merchandise Manager is tasked to bring together a truly National Marketing team under his leadership, by merging the eastern state’s teams in phase one and then combining the west coast resource as soon as phase one is stabilised. Our ambition is to create a National Catalogue campaign (completely removing region-based catalogues) as a matter of urgency.

“Our New Zealand business will also be supported through the newly created National Buying Team. The New Zealand business will continue to play a key role in our partnership with suppliers and the change program which we are about to implement.

“The National Merchandise Manager will immediately join the Senior Executive Group which includes the Chief Executive Officers from each of the regional organisations. The Senior Executive Group will be accountable to the National Board but for day to day matters Ken will report to Philip Scarff, CEO Northern.

“The National Merchandise Manager will be the prime contact for all matters of trading terms, buying and supply chain management for all suppliers with immediate effect.  Ken will be based in our offices in Victoria.

“I am also delighted to advise that we have just appointed Driss Toukhsati to the role of National Chief Information Officer. Driss will commence his duties from 6th August 2007 and will also be based in our offices in Victoria.

“His primary responsibilities will be to direct the project to replace our existing retail systems with a new and dynamic MIS solution to drive our business into the new decade. Effective immediately, all existing IT staff will report to Driss. I will update you all on progress with this crucial project as soon as Driss is established in his role.

“Driss will also join the Senior Executive Group and for day to day matters will report to Brian Kelly, CEO Southern.
“In order to create an environment of greater alignment across the three region-based organisations and New Zealand, the National Board will take an active role in directing the business and ensuring that the outcomes we have described herein are delivered on time, in budget and working effectively.

“The National Board will meet on a monthly basis to monitor all key projects and progress. The Senior Executive Group will report directly to the National Board on all matters relating to national projects. The board will also become more involved with suppliers to ensure that direction and intent is aligned and appropriate.

“Given the changes I have outlined above and the more streamlined approach to the way in which we will direct our business in future, we have decided to close the National Office by 30th September 2007 and to transfer all remaining activities to resources across the existing business.

“Keith Perkin will remain with the business in a support role until the 31st December 2007 to ensure all aspects of the transition are managed seamlessly.

“Whilst writing, I wish to extend my heartfelt thanks to Keith for his tireless efforts on our behalf in the five years he has been with us and for helping us to create the firm foundations which underpin these changes and our relationship with you and all the other suppliers we do our business with.

“In outlining these significant changes to our organisation, I trust that I have clearly explained what we are doing, why we are doing it and indicated the benefits of the changes that we can expect to enjoy in due course.

“The projects we are embarking on will be challenging for our business and I hope to be able to count on your support where required.

“I am convinced that the changes we are making are imperative and will contribute greatly to our future success. I know that I have the full support of management and board directors across the entire business to deliver these changes and the anticipated improved outcomes to our mutual benefit.”