Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci steps down days after interview walkout


Woolworths boss Brad Banducci will step down from his role in September, after eight-and-a-half years in the job.

Banducci, who walked out of an interview with an ABC Four Corners reporter on Tuesday after a question on competition in the industry, has given notice of his intention to retire, and will leave the company in September this year. Banducci held a 13-year tenure at the supermarket giant, eight-and-a-half of which he served as CEO.

He will be replaced by Amanda Bardwell, the managing director of the company’s e-commerce arm, WooliesX. Bardwell, who was appointed to the role in May 2017, joined Woolworths Group in 2001. She’s held positions in both general management and specialist senior executive roles across omni-channel retailing, e-commerce, marketing, buying, private label, and business development.

Banducci is expected to leave the supermarket giant with a portfolio of about $24 million in shares and a pro-rata salary payout in the vicinity of $6.5 million.

In a statement to the ASX, Woolworth Group chair, Scott Perkins, thanked Banducci for his contribution, and said the CEO had led “a remarkable turnaround and transformation” of the business.

“He has engendered a Customer 1st Team 1st culture, worked to strengthen existing businesses and build digital, eCommerce and analytics capabilities that are seen by our peers as world leading,” Perkins said.

“The test of any CEO is to leave the business in a much better shape than when they started. On that simple metric, history will judge Brad to have been one of Woolworths Group’s finest leaders.”

On Bardwelll, Perkins said the incoming CEO was a proven leader, business builder and modern retailer. Under her leadership, Perkins said WooliesX has grown from infancy to a $7 billion market-leading business.

“Amanda is highly respected throughout the organisation and I know, like Brad, will live our purpose and work hard to achieve Woolworths Group’s full potential.”

Bardwell’s total fixed remuneration will be $2.15 million per annum, inclusive of superannuation and any salary sacrifice arrangements.

It comes as the company unveiled its latest half-year earnings result, which showed the group’s net losses topped $781 million for the half-year, led by accounting write-downs of the company’s New Zealand Food business and interest in Endeavour Group. Excluding those, net profits after tax reached $929 million (up 2.5% from H23), and earnings before interest and tax topped $1.69 billion (up 3.3% from H23)

“Woolworths Group’s first half F24 results highlighted the benefits of our strategic investments over many years which have positioned us well to deliver for our customers, team and trade partners,” Woolworths Group Chair, Scott Perkins said.

The company also announced an interim dividend of 47 cents per share, up 2.2% in line with NPAT growth.

More to come.

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