Billionaire Gerry Harvey, CEO of Harvey Norman, has offered to run supermarket giant Coles Myer for free after giving his harsh diagnosis of the grocer’s performance during an interview.


Speaking on the Nine Network’s Business Sunday program, Harvey argued that Coles issuing a profit warning in June was a tragedy. Furthermore, he said that the problems at the “lousy” retailer are caused by mismanagement, and that the board needs to be “revamped.”


Harvey added that Coles was the greatest money-making opportunity in Australia, and argued that if he was running the chain he could increase its value from A$8bn (US$4bn) to A$20bn. This he said, he would happily do for no salary in return for 100 million share options exercisable at A$8-a-share.


Current chairman of Coles, Stan Wallis, is reportedly unenthusiastic at Harvey’s offer. Wallis has since confirmed that Coles is working to turn around its fortunes, and that he expected the company to recover from recent setbacks in 2001-2002.