The Reject Shop names new chief

Ross Sudano named new CEO of discount retailer, sees long-term growth in retail sector.

The Reject Shop has appointed Ross Sudano to the role of chief executive officer following the departure of Chris Bryce last month.

Mr Sudano brings to the role 20 years of retail experience, most recently as chief executive of Little World Beverages, which owns the Little Creatures brand. In this role he guided the company through its sale to international brewer Lion.

He has previously held senior management roles at Anaconda Adventure Stores, Foodland, Coles and BP Australia.

Mr Sudano will receive a starting salary of $650,000 with entitlements of 30% of total fixed remuneration dependent on individual performance targets and earnings before interest and tax.

Mr Bryce's exit was first flagged in March, before he stepped back from operational control of the retailer at the end of May. In the interim Denis Westhorpe has been performing the key functions of the managing director role. 

Chairman Bill Stevens said Mr Sudano’s experience with merchandise buying, supply chain management, product distribution, store operations and marketing were particularly appealing to the board. 

"Ross is a proven leader with an impressive track record for achieving strong revenue and profit growth in the retail sector and a reputation for bringing deep insights into the needs and demands of consumers," Mr Stevens said.

"His focus on driving high performance in a low-cost environment is a great fit with The Reject Shop."

Mr Sudano will be thrown into the deep end ahead of August’s corporate earnings season with the discount retailer previously cutting its full-year guidance from between $17 million and $18m to between $14.5m and $15.5m.

Despite his challenging starting point, Mr Sudano is upbeat on the future of Australian retail.

"I have great confidence in the discount variety sector and the long term growth prospects of Australia’s retail industry," Mr Sudano said.

The wider retail sector is currently experiencing prolonged weakness as an unseasonably warm winter and diminished consumer sentiment as a result of the Abbott government’s first budget continue to weigh.

The management reshuffle comes just one day after retailer Pacific Brands announced the departure of chief executive John Pollaers due to a disagreement with the clothing maker’s board.

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