Guy Hayward's resignation as CEO of Massmart this week surprised the market, but it's been a hellish five years for retail and the group has the added burden of having to adhere to onerous legal compliance imposed by parent company Walmart. A former Goldman Sachs banker who has always preferred a low profile, Hayward, 52, had been at the group since Massmart listed on the JSE in 2000. He had been CFO before he became CEO five years ago, when Grant Pattison left after a few years at the helm. At the group's most recent results presentation, Hayward admitted the figures were "disappointing". Retailers across the board are battling with deflation and low consumer confidence, with few signs of economic growth. The general retail index has risen 5.15% over the period Hayward has led Massmart but the company's market value has dropped nearly one-third in that time. When he took over, Massmart's share price was R136.45; it opened at R93.50 the day his resignation was announced. Walmart is ...

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