David Jones chief executive David Thomas at the Winnie the Pooh section at the new level eight retail store last year. Picture: John Feder/The Australian
David Jones chief executive David Thomas at the Winnie the Pooh section at the new level eight retail store last year. Picture: John Feder/The Australian

‘Personal reasons’: DJs CEO quits

DAVID Jones chief executive David Thomas has resigned after almost 18 months in the role weeks after results showed an improved first-half performance. The department store chain said on Thursday that Mr Thomas had departed for "personal reasons".

The company's South African owner Woolworth Holdings Ltd (WHL) had yet to make an announcement to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, but David Jones confirmed his exit in a brief emailed statement.

"A replacement CEO for David Jones will be announced in due course, and WHL Group CEO Ian Moir will work directly with the David Jones management team in the interim," the statement said.

David Jones sales for the last full financial year fell 0.4 per cent on a comparable stores basis, but Woolworths Holdings said last month that comparable sales rose 0.9 per cent in the first half of FY19 despite a weakening performance in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Mr Thomas previously spent four-and-a-half years as chief operating officer at David Jones following an almost two years stint as chief operating officer at Country Road, which is also owned by WHL.

He was promoted to the top job at David Jones after predecessor John Dixon took over as WHL Australasia chief executive in 2017, before his role was scrapped in a leadership restructure.

Mr Thomas was noticeably absent at the launch of David Jones' autumn/winter collection in Tasmania earlier this week.

His exit comes one year after rival department store Myer forced out chief executive Richard Umbers after he failed to turn the troubled retailer's fortunes around in his three years in the job.


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