Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA
Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA

The appointment of Mark Stirton as the new CFO at Mr Price is part of a broader changing of the guard in the retail sector.

Stirton’s appointment comes after the announcement that departing CFO Mark Blair will take over as CEO from Stuart Bird, who retires on January 1. The change in leadership at Mr Price came after a similar move at rival chain, TFG, where CFO Anthony Thunström took over as CEO from Doug Murray, who is retiring. TFG poached the CEO of Grindrod Freight Services, Bongiwe Ntuli, to fill the role of finance chief.

There have also been changes at unlisted Edcon, with former Massmart CEO Grant Pattison taking over as CEO at the beginning of the year.

Stirton has been with Mr Price since 2014, when he joined as group finance manager for strategy and key projects. Before joining the group, he held senior posts at drugmaker and investment group Eurotap Investments.

Blair had been CFO for the past 11 years and has been with the company for 12 years. 

Bird retires after eight years in charge. “Stuart’s 25-year career with Mr Price, and particularly the past decade under his leadership as CEO, has seen the group grow into one of the top-performing retailers in Southern Africa, with a market capitalisation of over R60bn,” said Mr Price chair Nigel Payne.

“Over the eight years of Stuart’s leadership earnings have grown at a compound rate of 18.8%. Stuart’s success has been as a consequence of focusing on our customers and ensuring we provide the products that appeal to them. He has also taken key steps to create the infrastructure and capabilities upon which our future success will be built,” Payne said.

The group also appointed former Deloitte partner, actress, and TV and film producer, Mmaboshadi “Shadi” Chauke as a non-executive director and member of its audit and compliance committee with immediate effect.

News of the appointments at Mr Price comes after it put out a trading statement at the end of August, saying its sales rose 7.4% to R7.4bn for the 18 weeks to August 4. It said at the time: “The retail environment is expected to remain highly competitive until more robust economic growth is attained in SA.”

The group’s result for the half year to-end September comes is due out on Wednesday.

claasenl@businesslive.co.za