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The sudden departure of two Australia-based nonexecutive directors of Woolworths has fuelled speculation that the troubled retailer will be forced to announce another huge write-down related to the R21bn acquisition of the David Jones department store.
And while the board has reiterated its faith in CEO Ian Moir, the scale of the problems now facing the group and Moir’s evident inability to fix them suggest that further boardroom changes could be on the cards. Long-term chair and former CEO Simon Susman, regarded as an ally of Moir and a driver of the David Jones acquisition, is due to retire in November, to be replaced by deputy chair Hubert Brody.
The curt announcement of the resignation of the two directors pushed the share price down to a five-year low of R45.80. At the time of writing the share is at less than half the level where it peaked in late 2015 on the back of expectations about the contribution from the Australian business.
Asief Mohamed, chief investment officer at Ae...
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