South African retailer Pick n Pay has named Richard van Rensburg deputy CEO as the retailer looks to transform itself into a “world-class retailer”.

Van Rensburg joined Pick n Pay’s board last year and has been asked to oversee a dedicated team focusing on the retailer’s “transformation programme”.

The strategy started in Pick n Pay’s 2007/08 financial year and chairman Gareth Ackerman claimed the retailer had started to see the “fruits of the transformation process”. However, he added: “It is important that we continue to manage the cost burden on our business effectively.”

Pick n Pay’s transformation programme team includes its information systems and supply chain divisions. The retailer’s buying and administration strategies will also be led by van Rensburg’s transformation team.

Van Rensburg, who previously served as a partner with Ernst and Young and had roles on the boards of retailers including Massmart, Woolworths Holdings, will also serve as an executive director on Pick n Pay’s board and directly report to CEO Nick Badminton. 

“Richard’s appointment comes at an important time for Pick n Pay where he will help us accelerate the implementation of our change programme,” Ackerman said.

Last month, Pick n Pay revealed plans to make more than 3,000 staff redundant as it battles falling profits and a loss of market share.

Reflecting on the move yesterday (16 August), Ackerman said: “Labour costs contribute significantly to overall expenses and the retrenchments come in light of our operational requirements. We’ve worked hard at looking at possible alternatives that may reduce the number of full-time people affected and these options are under discussion as part of our consultation process with the union.”

He added: “The company does not plan to close any stores as part of the retrenchment process.”