David Jones CEO Ian Nairn announces shock departure

Iain Nairn

David Jones CEO Ian Nairn has surprisingly quit the upscale Australian department store group after just over a year. It is understood his departure is for personal reasons although he will stay on for a brief period as an advisor.

John Dixon, former executive of UK retail giant Marks & Spencer, will be his replacement.

“Over the past three years Iain has made a significant contribution to our Australian businesses,” Woolworths chief executive Ian Moir said.

Dixon, who has worked at M&S for 25 years, was described by Moir as “a world class retailer with a powerful combination of international food and fashion expertise”.

Nairn’s exit comes at a time when David Jones is posting strong same-store sales and outpacing the performance of its rival Myer.

Nairn, who took over as boss from Paul Zahra, has recorded its strongest sales growth in eight years with David Jones recently unveiling sales for the year ending June 30 rose 6.4%, as same-store sales lifted 3.7%. This was around double the sales growth pace at Myer.

A former boss of Country Road, also owned by Woolworths Holdings, he was spearheading the rejuvenation and operational restructure at David Jones.

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