Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci to step down

Source: ABC

Woolworths Group managing director and chief executive Brad Banducci has announced he is stepping down after 13 years with the group and eight and a half as its CEO.

The announcement Wednesday morning comes just days after an embarrassing interview exchange was aired by ABC’s Four Corners in which Banducci threatened to walk out while facing questions about the lack of supermarket competition in Australia.

Banducci will resign from his position in September and be replaced by Amanda Bardwell, managing director of the supermarket group’s ecommerce arm.

A spokesman for Woolworths denied Banducci’s retirement announcement was connected in any way to the Four Corners interview.

“It has been a privilege to be a member of the Woolies team and one I have never taken for granted,” Banducci said in a statement.

“We have a wonderfully talented and passionate team at Woolworths Group, as personified in Amanda Bardwell, and I look forward to working with Amanda and our team over the next few months as we set ourselves up for the next chapter.”

Woolworths chairman Scott Perkins said Wednesday that Banducci had led a remarkable turnaround of the company and built a team of amazing calibre.

“The test of any CEO is to leave the business in much better shape than when they started,” Perkins said.

“On that simple metric, history will judge Brad to have been one of Woolworth Group’s finest leaders.”

Bardwell will commence her new role as Woolworths Group’s 13th CEO – and first woman CEO – on September 1.

Perkins called Ms Bardwell a proven leader, business builder and modern retailer who had taken WooliesX 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.”

On Monday’s Four Corners, Banducci walked out of an interview while being questioned over allegations of price gouging and the lack of competition in the Australian supermarket sector.

Both Coles and Woolworths have denied engaging in price gouging.

Banducci faced a question about competition claims made by former Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) boss Rod Sims, but later returned and finished the interview.

– with AAP

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