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Peace breaks out on Myer’s board with key leadership changes

A statement to the ASX on Monday revealed major changes to the board, including a new chairperson and two board nominees for the annual general meeting (AGM) on November 9. All of this appears to be endorsed by the top shareholder, Solomon Lew, and his Premier Investments group.

Myer (ASX:MYR) announced that after seven years, the current chair, JoAnne Stephenson, has decided to retire from the position and as a Director at the AGM. She will be succeeded by the current Myer non-executive director, Ari Mervis, who will assume the role of chair following the AGM. Mr. Mervis will also stand for re-election as a Director at the AGM.

Additionally, Ms. Olivia Wirth and Dr. Gary Weiss AM will be nominated for election as independent Non-Executive Directors at the meeting. The statement emphasized that both nominees have the support of Myer’s largest shareholder, who is Solomon Lew, owning around 26% of the department store group.

While the statement did not explicitly mention Mr. Lew’s approval of Mr. Mervis as the new chair, the tone of the announcement and its timing suggest that it’s an appointment he is satisfied with.

Myer stated that the nomination of the two new directors is part of their focus on ensuring they have the necessary skills and experience to continue the successful delivery of the Customer First Plan and drive the next phase of Myer’s growth.

Retiring chair, Ms. Stephenson, expressed her confidence in the transition, stating, “After seven years on the Board, I believe now is the right time for transition to an outstanding new Chairman – Ari Mervis, who, with the unanimous support of the Board, is the right person to oversee the next stage of Myer’s growth journey.”

She also praised the two new director nominees as “outstanding candidates.” Dr. Weiss brings a wealth of commercial experience, including in retail and property, while Ms. Wirth possesses expertise aligned with key elements of Myer’s Customer First Plan, such as loyalty and customer experience.

Mr. Mervis pledged to work constructively with all stakeholders to ensure stability and continuity for Myer. He expressed his commitment to collaborating with the Myer Executive Team to continue delivering on the Customer First Plan and pursuing future growth opportunities.

With the new board in place, the company will now focus on finding a new CEO to succeed the outgoing John King, who has overseen the revival of the once-fading department store giant. Mr. King intends to step down in the second half of 2024.

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