Foodstuffs North Island Limited has announced the appointment of David Stewart as General Manager Merchandise – a transition that follows six successful years as Chief Financial Officer with the co-operative.
Foodstuffs North Island’s CEO Chris Quin says Stewart has done an “outstanding job” as a CFO, first for Foodstuffs Auckland Ltd, and most recently Foodstuffs North Island. “Our co-op is in excellent financial health,” says Quin. “Our auditors have confirmed to the board that the performance of our commercial operation’s team is right up there with the best, and there’s no doubt that David’s leadership has been a key factor in this.”
“We’re now entering an exciting time for the merchandise team, and under David’s direction we will continue to employ effective and integrated merchandise practices that will enrich our customer’s retail experience.”
“David’s strategic thinking, commercial acumen and strong leadership will be hugely beneficial in making shopping easier for customers, saving them time while innovating to provide inspiration about what to buy via the channel that’s most convenient for them.”
For his part, Stewart says he’s enjoying the shift in focus away from raw figures to consumer trends. “In essence, my new role is all about ensuring we’re stocking the products our customers want,” says Stewart. “That means identifying early on where they may be shifting their spending habits to, and working with suppliers on new product innovations.”
“We know, for example, that shoppers are thinking more about healthy options and increasingly looking for products that have been sourced sustainably. We’ve got to respond to those demands while at the same time continuing to offer great value and range.”
Stewart’s appointment is effective immediately, though his last official duty as CFO won’t be until 11 August 2016, when he delivers the Foodstuffs North Island Group’s financial results at its AGM in Wellington.
In the meantime, the hunt is on for a new CFO for an organisation with more than $7.5bn in annual store sales, assets worth over $2.5bn, and current capital expenditure in excess of $100m.
Quin also praised outgoing GM Merchandise Baden Ngan Kee for his hard work and dedication. “Under Baden’s leadership, the merchandise team has excelled, keeping on top of consumer trends and delivering innovative solutions across our banners at a time of increasing focus on e-commerce.”