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Woolworths appoints new Managing Director to transform Big W

Woolworths Group has appointed an executive who has been with New Zealand general merchandise retailer The Warehouse Group to drive a turnaround of BIG W.

Woolworths Group CEO, Brad Banducci announced Pejman Okhovat will join Woolworths Group as Managing Director, BIG W to continue the BIG W transformation journey together with the BIG W leadership team.

Pejman joins from New Zealand where he was Chief Operating Officer, The Warehouse Group with an extensive background in non-food retail both in New Zealand and the UK.

The Warehouse Group announced the departure of Pejman Okhovat “to take up a senior executive position with an overseas retailer” on October 20.

“Pej has played a key role in improving the performance of The Warehouse and Warehouse Stationery over the last few years and was instrumental in developing and implementing the strategy of everyday low prices, significantly growing the online business of both The Warehouse and Warehouse Stationery, and structuring the Red and Blue sheds to deliver a great omnichannel retail experience to our customers,” says Group CEO Nick Grayston.

“Pej was also pivotal in enabling The Warehouse Group to trade through COVID during the level 4 and 3 lockdowns earlier in the year. On behalf of the Executive and the Board I would like to thank Pej for the significant contribution he has made over the past 15 years and wish him all the best in his new role.”

“It’s with mixed emotions that I have decided to leave The Warehouse Group after 15 years and take up a new opportunity,” Pejman said.

He replaces David Walker, who will go on to a new role created by the Woolworths Group.

To reflect the increasing importance of risk governance and management across Woolworths Group, a Chief Risk Officer role has been created reporting to the Group CEO.

David has been appointed to this role and will lead Woolworths Group’s critical Line Two risk and compliance functions within its Three Lines of accountability framework. This includes primary responsibility for the Group’s risk and compliance strategy, the evolution of risk management frameworks and oversight of risk across the Group.

“There are an ever increasing number of influences changing the way that we work and the role that we play in the communities in which we operate. Whilst this creates many new exciting opportunities for us, it also increases the importance of good risk management. To best reflect these needs, we have created a new Chief Risk Officer role within the Woolworths Group senior leadership team,” Woolworths Group CEO, Brad Banducci said.

“I am pleased that someone of David’s calibre will be stepping into this new role. For the last four years, David and his leadership team have led the successful turnaround of BIG W by building a strong purpose-led culture that has culminated in the business’s return to profitability this year.”

Pejman will join BIG W in Q4 F21 and report to Claire Peters in her new Group role as Managing Director, B2B and Everyday Needs.

In the interim, Teresa Rendo, who is currently General Manager of Commercial at BIG W and has played a fundamental role in BIG W’s turnaround journey, will step in as Acting Managing Director of BIG W.

 

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