Garry Hounsell, the Chairman of Myer, has decided to retire ahead of the Myer AGM, citing that the two largest shareholders are 'not supporting' his re-election.
“Ahead of today’s Myer AGM, it has become apparent that Myer’s two largest shareholders are not supporting my re-election and I will not allow my ongoing tenure as Chairman to be a distraction to the hard work of the executive team,” he said in an announcement this morning.
“In my three years as Chairman, we have pursued a clear strategy that has strengthened the Myer business, allowing it to come through the severe disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns to be well-positioned as we head into the crucial end-of-year trading period.
“Our online business is going from strength to strength, with growth of almost 100 per cent in the second half of FY20 to become one of the biggest and fastest-growing online retail stores in Australia, and the Customer First strategy led by our CEO, John King, and the executive team sees our stores well-stocked and well-prepared for summer,” he said.
“Throughout my tenure, we have been resolutely focused on delivering for customers and improving the performance of the business – and we have been determined not to allow anything to distract us from that mission.”
JoAnne Stephenson has been appointed as Acting Chairman while Myer Holdings Limited decides on who will become the permanent replacement.
“It is essential that John King and Myer’s management team are able to execute the strategy during the all-important peak trading period, between Black Friday and January’s Stocktake Sale, without further disruption and it is hoped that my appointment as Acting Chairman will enable this to occur,” said Stephenson.
Stakeholders in Myer, such as Soloman Lew, have been openly critical of the retailer over the last six months, with Premier Investments requesting the ‘immediate resignation’ of the Myer Board and for an ‘urgent’ overhaul of the management.
In mid-September, two Myer Non-Executive Directors, Lyndsey Cattermole AM and Julie Ann Morrison, also decided to retire ahead of the Annual General Meeting.
“We have been considering the size of our Board for some time,” said Hounsell at the time. “During the past three years, the Chairman and Non-Executive Director fees have been reduced on several occasions.”
The Myer AGM will take place this afternoon. More to come.
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