Shake-up for senior Myer management
Myer is shaking up its management team ahead of next year's hunt to find a replacement for retiring chief executive Bernie Brookes.
The changes, announced in an internal email, have been sparked by an "internal review of processes" at Myer, as the retailer seeks to find further cost savings without having to axe staff.
As part of the changes, Myer's general manager of marketing and brand development Megan Foster will become managing director of the department store's part-owned fashion label sass & bide.
Myer paid $42.3 million in 2011 for a two-thirds stake in the high-end label.
Ms Foster's vacant marketing role will be merged with control of digital sales, the successful "Myer one" loyalty program, major events and the "omni-channel" sales strategy - selling merchandise across bricks-and-mortar stores, online websites and mobile devices - as part of a new executive role.
Myer is already interviewing candidates for the position. Whoever gets the job will be a prime contender to succeed Mr Brookes as chief executive when he and the board agree to a timetable for his retirement.
Staff at Myer's head office in Melbourne have already been briefed on the changes.
Mr Brookes has been chief executive and managing director of Myer Group since 2006 and has guided the company through one of the most difficult periods the retail sector has seen.
Myer's sales have grown marginally from $3 billion when it floated in 2009 to $3.12 billion last financial year. Mr Brookes has improved the bottom line through cost-cutting, store refurbishment and investment in new IT systems.
Myer chairman Paul McClintock has stated the global hunt to replace Mr Brookes will not begin until next year.
Ms Foster had been considered an internal candidate to follow Mr Brookes as CEO, but her move to sass & bide may rule her out of contention. A senior source within Myer said: "Megan has long been involved as a director of sass & bide and loves the brand. It would be wrong to consider this a demotion, as this is a chance for her to run her own company."
Ms Foster will remain on Myer's management team.
The leading internal candidates to replace Mr Brookes are chief financial officer Mark Ashby and executive general manager of merchandise Adam Stapleton. In his 10 years with Myer, Mr Stapleton has also been the company's national manager of advertising and general manager of marketing.
"That puts Adam in a pretty good position to follow Bernie, if they look inside," a former Myer executive said. "If you look around the industry, having both marketing and merchandise on your CV holds you in good stead for the top job."