Leading Australian high-street retailer Myer has announced that its current CEO Bernie Brooks will be stepping down from his role, with current CIO Richard Umbers set to replace him. The move is a significant step and highlights the changing landscape of the retail industry in Australia.
The company has made the decision based upon the shift in retail environments from physical to digital. Umbers became Myer’s first Chief Information and Supply Chain Officer only six months ago. The business is hoping that with the appointment, Myer will be equipped to respond to the changing habits of their customers and the retail market as quickly as possible.
‘It has become clear that to thrive in a modern retail environment, Myer must adapt more quickly and be closer to its customers. A strategic review has been ongoing for some time, with a view to reshaping the business for a profitable, sustainable future,’ said Myer Chairman Paul McClintock AO.
McClintock made reference to Umbers’ previous experience in overseeing business transformation, with the technology executive having previously spent time at Australia Post and Woolworths. For Umbers, the role represents a challenge that he is looking forward to taking on:
‘I am excited by the opportunity to lead Myer, a business and brand that I have long admired. Since arriving at Myer, I have been impressed by the energy and commitment of the team. Together, we will develop and deliver a reinvigorated offer for customers,’ his statement read.
The transformation project, which McClintock alludes to, will likely be set around the retailer investing more in digital channels and creating a robust technology agenda. The board of the once untouchable shopping giant appears to be taking the threat of ecommerce very seriously.
The appointment will be seen as a landmark decision by the company that is sure to have flowing effects for the entire industry. In the early days of ecommerce, many industry analysts were quick to criticise the lack of response from high-street retailers. It appears now that there is a general acceptance that the retail climate has changed forever, and that for traditional retailers to survive, they will have to invest heavily in forging a digital footprint. OCM.
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