S. Africa’s Woolworths appoints Roy Bagattini CEO

A shopper walks to a Woolworths store in Sandton, South Africa, August 28, 2019. southafricnews/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo

(southafricnews) – South African supermarket chain Woolworths Holdings on Tuesday named Levi Strauss’ Americas President Roy Bagattini to the top job, after Chief Executive Officer Ian Moir steps down in February.

Woolworth shares jumped 9% following the announcement.

Moir served at the helm of Woolworths for nearly a decade and the company did not give a reason for his departure.

Bagattini, 56, previously served as Levi Strauss’ APAC, Middle-East and Africa president and also worked for Denmark-based beer producer Carlsberg.

News of his appointment comes after Woolworths reported a 2.2% rise in group sales for the 20 weeks ended Nov. 11, as strong performance in its home market offset weakness at its Australian up-market department store chain, David Jones.

Moir will work closely with Bagattini to facilitate a transition and will continue in his role as acting CEO of David Jones, the company said.

David Jones has been struggling with subdued consumer spending in a slowing Australian economy and pressures faced by department store operators as shoppers switch to online players such as Inc, or fast fashion brick-and-mortar stores like Inditex’s Zara.

“Roy has extensive operational, management and turnaround experience in global consumer and retail markets, which will prove invaluable as we continue to navigate the structural changes taking place in the retail sector and the challenges particular to our group,” Woolworths Chairman Hubert Brody said.

Reporting by Safia Infant in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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