World News – AU – Myer chair closes before being kicked out


The president of the besieged department store Myer resigned hours before an annual general meeting, where major shareholders, including retail veteran Solomon Lew, are said to have voted against his re-election

Garry Hounsell has faced intense pressure from the chain’s two largest shareholders, one of whom is Mr. Lew’s Premier Investments

During his three years on the board, Myer struggled to cope with the threat of online retailing, stumbled upon turnaround strategies, and more recently had to shut down his doors nationwide due to COVID-19

« It has become evident that Myer’s two major shareholders do not support my re-election, » he said in a statement to ASX just hours before the company’s AGM

« And I will not allow my current tenure as president to be a distraction from the hard work of the management team »

The pandemic has been brutal for traditional retailers such as Myer who do not have a burgeoning online presence in the market

Earlier this year, the ABC revealed that Australia’s largest trade credit insurance provider had such serious doubts about the future of the service chain that it had stopped providing insurance to providers who were trying to cover the risk of not being paid by Myer or David Jones

Ten years ago, as the threat of online retailing grew, Myer’s stock cost around $ 3.50

Premier Investments bought just over 10% of Myer in 2015, when its shares had already fallen to around $ 1.20

In mid-March 2020, as city centers emptied from COVID-19 and the country began to strictly control movements, Myer’s shares fell to 10 cents

Premier Investments is itself a listed company and in its annual report described the investment in Myer as disappointing

« At the end of fiscal 2020, the fair value of this listed equity interest is reflected at $ 18 1 million, » notes its annual report sadly

« During my three years as President, we have pursued a clear strategy that has bolstered Myer’s business, enabling him to navigate the severe disruption of lockdowns from the COVID-19 pandemic to be well positioned then that we are moving towards the end of year bargaining period, ”he said

« Our online business is getting better and better, growing nearly 100% in the second half of fiscal 2020, becoming one of the largest and most successful online retail stores. most dynamic in Australia « 

M Hounsell is also currently President of Helloworld Travel, another company fighting the continuing effects of the pandemic

Previously he was president of cleaning company Spotless, as well as director of Qantas airline

« The resignation of M Garry Hounsell ahead of Myer’s annual general meeting is the ‘green shoot’ Myer’s shareholders have long been waiting for, ‘he said

« For the sake of all of Myer’s dedicated employees, its many hard-working suppliers, loyal but frustrated customers and, of course, its long-suffering shareholders, the company must be restored by installing a new board « 

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AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time, which is 10 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)

Myer, Garry Hounsell, Solomon Lew, Board of Directors, Premier Investments Ltd

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