Longstanding Australian Retailers Association boss Russell Zimmerman is stepping down as CEO, as a newly focused ARA featuring more major Australian retailers as members was presented to the public.
A new look Australian Retailers Association with a focus on representing retail with ‘one voice’ was unveiled today by President Rowan Hodge. Richard Murray, CEO of JB Hi-Fi, was on hand to personify major retailers, more of whom are said to be joining with the ARA to unify one major retail representative body.
“Representation of the retail industry in Australia has been fragmented,” said Hodge. “The combination of the major retailers and the ARA is a critical first step in creating one voice for small, medium and larger retailers.”
The Australian Retailers Association was founded in 1903, and claims 9,500 independent and national retail members, with 95% of those members small and medium size businesses.
In August this year, talks with the National Retail Association (NRA) regarding a merger to form a single national retail representative body imploded abruptly. The spat played out publicly in business media, with both sides trading barbs and further fracturing relations beyond repair.
“The major retailers believe consolidating advocacy, representation and industry leadership activities is crucial, and that the ARA is best placed to provide one voice for the retail sector,” said Murray. “Our primary objective is the continued growth and success of all retailers, large and small.”
The ARA has also announced that Russell Zimmerman, the association’s CEO for the past 10 years, will be retiring.
“Our industry is the better for his leadership and insights. I thank Russell for his years of dedicated service and wish him well,” said Murray.
Zimmerman will stay on as CEO to manage the transition to a successor, with a search process for the new CEO to commence as soon as practicable.
“I have enjoyed leading this great organisation in an industry that touches millions of Australian lives and which is a pillar of the Australian economy,” said Zimmerman. “I am looking forward to a new chapter and fresh challenges in my professional career.”