Myer needs an urgent turnaround and Richard Umbers isn't the man for the job, according to the retail group.

By Joe McDonough


Posted on February 14, 2018

Richard Umbers has been axed after almost three years as head of Myer Holdings Limited.

The decision has only just been announced, with the company citing its impatience for a swift turnaround. His tenure will end effective immediately.

Chairman Garry Hounsell has been appointed Executive Chairman while the search begins for a replacement chief executive officer and managing director.

In today’s media release, Hounsell said there was an “urgency” to deliver value for the shareholders.

“We are impatient for a turnaround in the Company’s performance and the Board has determined that it is in the interests of all shareholders for there to be a fresh
approach to drive our future direction,” he said.

“At the time of my appointment as Chairman in November 2017, I said I was impatient and this announcement reflects my desire to drive, first-hand, the urgency required to deliver shareholder value.

“On behalf of the Board, I thank Richard for his hard work and commitment during the past three years and wish him well for the future.”

His termination follows a third profit warning in less than a year, despite launching a $600 million turnaround strategy in late 2015.

As a result, shares hit a fresh all-time low , and brokers downgraded the stock.

The poor performances have only helped fuel Solomon Lew’s sustained attack on the Myer board.

“As Premier has said from the outset, the numbers don’t lie,” Premier Investments said last week.

“Today’s numbers show that the disastrous sales and profit decline within Myer is accelerating. Myer is now in peril and shareholders must urgently unite to save the company and what is left of our investments.”

Lew has been pushing for an extraordinary general meeting as he attempts to seat three of his own nominees on the board — former Myer Grace Bros managing director Terry McCartney, former investment banker Tim Antonie, and former Federation Centres CEO Steven Sewell.