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The Warehouse Group CEO out, succession plan launched

30 Mar 2015

The Warehouse Group’s CEO Mark Powell is officially stepping down some time before Feburary 2016, as part of the company’s annual succession planning cycle.

According to a statement from The Warehouse Group, Powell ‘indicated to the Board he did not forsee himself continuing’ past next February.

As a result, The Warehouse Group has initiated a formal process to recruit a new Group CEO. This will allow up to 10 months to find a successor for Powell.

Powell has been Group CEO for more than four years and has led an extensive strategic reshaping of the company.

He lead the $100m Red Sheds refresh program and was a key part of the significant improvement in the customer offer, product quality and service. This move delivered 17 quarters of sales growth, according to reports.

He was behind the implementation of the Retail Learning Pathway, the Career Retailer Wage and the Retail and Business Management degree with Massey University, which has helped make retail a more attractive career to job hunters.

Huge strides in the area of online and digital retailing have been made thanks to Powell, with The Warehouse Group New Zealand now a significant retailer in this space.

Powell has also helped with the turnaround and consolidation of Warehouse Stationery, helping to make it a successful business, and was integral to the broadening of the Group’s strategic options through the acquisition of Noel Leeming and Torpedo 7.

Looking to the longer term, Powell established a financial services strategy that will add value across the Group.

He has created a customer led, people focused culture and way of working, which has resulted in industry leading team engagement and a reappraisal of the brand by the company's customers, and put the Group’s Community focus back at the heart of the Group’s strategy.

Commenting on the decision to move on, Powell says, “When I took this role I never saw myself doing it for more than the four to five years required to establish a new strategic platform and culture for the future.

“The last four years have been personally very fulfilling. The Group is now very different. Customers and the team have seen the positive difference.

“The challenge in the next strategic cycle is to fully translate this platform into profitable growth for our shareholders in the future. I know we have the team in place to do this.”

When asked what he would do next year when he has finished, Powell says, “I have many interests outside of this role and will not be seeking another executive role.

“Instead I will look to apply my knowledge, skills and experience where I can to help in my areas of passion, both in the faith based not-for-profit sector and as a professional company director.”

Stephen Tindall, The Warehouse Group founder, says, "Mark has made a tremendous contribution to The Warehouse Group.

“His goal was to drive this phase of the strategic journey by starting with the customer and putting a real focus on people, culture and a clear way of working.

“This has provided the strategic path and investment required to transition the business from Red and Blue into a broader Group encompassing new businesses, including financial services.

“At the same time he addressed the changing market needs with online and digital demands. Mark has positioned the business well for a new leader to take the Group on the next phase of its strategic journey and drive the results from these investments."

Ted Van Arkel, The Warehouse Group chair, says, “I want to thank Mark for his leadership of the Group during a period of unprecedented change.

“Much has been achieved and I am confident that the strong base that has been built has set us up for future success. Mark’s commitment to work with us over the next ten months will ensure there is smooth leadership succession for the Group.”

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