Wesfarmers, the diversified conglomerate, has announced that it is now proceeding with its search for a new managing director for the Coles retail operations after Coles shareholders approved its acquisition of the company earlier this week.

Wesfarmers added that Mick McMahon, chief operating officer of Coles Retail, will continue in this role.

Wesfarmers also announced that the retailing activities acquired from Coles are to be grouped in a new division to be called Food, Liquor and Convenience (FLC).

"Mick McMahon has acquitted himself well in his relatively short time overseeing the operations of these businesses and I am very pleased he will be part of the Wesfarmers team," said Wesfarmers managing director Richard Goyder. "He will work closely with me and our key adviser, Archie Norman, as soon as we take control, in developing plans for the supermarkets. Mick will report to me until a new managing director takes over the FLC division. I expect he will continue in a senior role after that time."

Terry Bowen, currently managing director of Wesfarmers' Industrial and Safety division, is to be the finance director for the FLC division. Bowen will report directly to Goyder until a managing director for the FLC division is appointed.

In a statement, Goyder added that the company would be a position to name a new permanent head for the FLC division in the near future. However, in further interviews Goyder said that it could be "some time" before a new managing director takes over.

Archie Norman, the former chief executive of UK supermarket chain Asda, described the job of leading Coles as the "best retail opportunity in the world".

The transfer of ownership to Wesfarmers is scheduled to take place on 23 November, subject to Wesfarmers obtaining necessary orders from the Supreme Court of Victoria.