David Kneale. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL
David Kneale. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL

Former Clicks CEO David Kneale, who helped the retail group break into the JSE’s top 40 index in 2018, has joined the Woolworths board.

Kneale, who stepped down as CEO of Clicks at the end of 2018 after 13 years at the helm, has been appointed an independent nonexecutive director of Woolworths, effective on Monday, the struggling food and clothing retailer said.

Kneale has more than 40 years of local and international retail experience in senior leadership and executive roles, Woolworths said.

Thembisa Skweyiya has also joined the Woolworths board in the same capacity.

“Thembisa brings a wealth of skills to the board,” Woolworths said.

She has “extensive corporate finance expertise”, having served at Citigroup and Nedbank Capital, and being a member of the board of Rothschild (SA).

Skweyiya is currently a nonexecutive director on the boards of Imperial Logistics, Liberty Holdings, Sumitomo Rubber SA and Jonsson Workwear. She previously served on the boards of Absa, Telkom and Famous Brands.

“The board will continue to supplement its composition by the appointment of additional independent nonexecutive directors and will be making further announcements in this regard in due course,” Woolworths said.

In February, Woolworths saw its share price decline to the lowest level since 2012 after saying two nonexecutive board members with extensive business experience in Australia had resigned with immediate effect.

The resignation of Patrick Allaway and Gail Kelly followed that of David Jones CEO David Thomas, who left with immediate effect in early February.

Thomas was the third CEO to leave David Jones in five years.

Woolworths bought David Jones in a much-praised takeover worth R21bn in April 2014, although that business has since soured.

Battling to turn around the business, the retailer wrote down the value of the Australian retailer by R7bn in 2018, leading Woolworths to report its first annual loss since 2002.

hedleyn@businesslive.co.za