Woolworths has concluded its eight-month search for a chief executive with the immediate promotion of Brad Banducci to the role.
Woolworths reported a total of A$2.09 billion first half loss after taking a A$3.25 billion hit from its ill-fated Masters home improvement stores in Australia. Woolworths in January announced it was closing its loss-making Masters stores, which had failed to challenge the dominant Bunnings chain owned by rival Wesfarmers.
“The decision to exit home improvement will allow Woolworths to focus its energy and resources on strengthening and executing its plans in its core businesses,” chairman Gordon Cairns said.
Without the impairment, Woolworths still would have reported a fall in first half profit from $1.28 billion for the same period a year earlier. Revenue from Australian food, liquor and petrol declined 2.58 per cent to A$24.96 billion.
Banducci will now be tasked with leading the company’s revival, although he will continue to fill his former role of managing director of Woolworths Food Group until a replacement is found.
Woolworths had been looking for a chief executive since June, when Grant O’Brien said he was quitting.