​Myer CIO takes CEO reins

Myer has appointed Richard Umbers, chief information and supply chain officer, as the new CEO who will continue to oversee the company's transformation project.

Myer's Bernie Brookes has stepped down from his position as chief executive officer and managing director, with Richard Umbers, the chief information and supply chain officer, replacing him effective immediately.

Myer chairman Paul McClintock said in reflection to Umbers' appointment that the business needs to be reshaped to adapt to the changing retail environment, and for that to happen, a new leader is needed to drive the company's ongoing transformation project.

"The board and management team have agreed that the transformation work has reached a pivotal point, and it is appropriate for a new CEO to be given the opportunity to own, lead, and drive the transformation program over the coming years," he said.

"Already in his time at Myer, Richard has demonstrated that he is a contemporary retailer with the clear ability to reshape Myer in a new retail landscape. He has broad international experience across the retail sector and, importantly, success in leading business transformation."

Under his new leadership, Umbers said he will make use of the company's internal and external customer data to drive the company's future focus.

"An in-depth analysis of Myer's current and future target customer is giving us a very clear picture of where we need to focus our efforts. We recognise the power of these customer conversations, and these insights are shaping our view of the future of Myer," he said.

Last September, Myer reported that while its net profit after tax for the 2014 financial year dropped 22.6 percent to AU$98.5 million, online sales doubled. It attributed the results to online visits growing by 74 percent to over 38 million.

Brookes at the time acknowledged that the results show customers increasingly favour having the choice to shop online.

"Our number one priority is to have a stable website all the time. In November, we took significant steps to upgrade it to effectively deliver better navigation. As a result, we saw an immediate increase in basket size and order value," he said.

"We continue to exponentially grow our online offer. The basket size and order value increase is a sign we're on the right track. Conversion value for the year increased by 63 percent."

In addition to Umbers' appointment, the company has selected Daniel Bracken to become deputy chief executive officer, while he also retains his current role as chief merchandise and marketing officer.

Bracken joined Myer in 2014 and has more than 15 years' experience in retail, including at Burberry London and as CEO of The Apparel Group.

Meanwhile, Myer's chief financial officer Mark Ashby has resigned to take up a role in the United States. A decision on Ashby's replacement is still being made.

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