McLeod is credited with turning around fortunes of Coles

McLeod is credited with turning around fortunes of Coles

Ian McLeod, MD of Australia's second-largest grocer Coles, is to take a role within the company's parent, retail-to-mining group Wesfarmers.

McLeod, who took the helm at Coles in 2008, will "move to a senior role within the wider Wesfarmers Group", the conglomerate said today (18 February).

The former Asda executive will be succeeded by Coles COO John Durkan. Both men will formally take their new roles in July.

McLeod joined Coles just months after it was acquired by Wesfarmers in what was the biggest takeover in Australia's corporate history. Wesfarmers snapped up Coles for a cool A$19.7bn in November 2007 and admitted immediately the retailer's supermarkets were performing "poorly". Wesfarmers said it would take five years to turn around Coles and, under McLeod's stewardship, the retailer's fortunes have improved.

"Ian's success with the Coles division, which has more than doubled earnings before interest and tax and helped generate significant shareholder value for the Wesfarmers Group, highlights his credentials as a world class retailer and leader," Wesfarmers MD Richard Goyder said. "The Coles business is unrecognisable from the one we purchased in 2007."

McLeod said he was looking forward to his new role. "When I started at Coles in 2008, I felt that Australians deserved a better retail experience, with better stores, better standards, better prices and better quality. We have worked incredibly hard to deliver improvements in all of these areas and have been rewarded with four million additional customers visiting our stores each week," he said.

Durkan joined Coles as merchandising director in 2008 from UK mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse. Before that, he spent 17 years at the then UK grocer Safeway plc until 2004.

Of becoming Coles MD, he said: "This is a great opportunity, working with an outstanding management group and our 100,000 team members to reward our 19 million customers for their loyalty and make Coles the best food, liquor and petrol retailer in the country."