South-African retailer Massmart has announced the resignation of its CEO Grant Pattison.

Pattison, who has been in the position since 2007, will step down on 1 June. He will be succeeded by COO Guy Hayward.

During Pattison’s tenure as CEO, Massmart sold a majority stake in the business to Wal-Mart, marking the US retailer’s entry into Africa. The retailer had also entered into food retail through Cambridge Food, Game, Makro and Saverite.

Massmart deputy chairman Chris Seabrooke, commenting on behalf of the board, said: “We are saddened by Grant’s decision. A strong and visionary leader, he successfully steered the group through a protracted transaction and the subsequent integration with Walmart while delivering significant value to shareholders.”

Pattison said: “I have been CEO for seven years, the last three of which were undoubtedly the most rewarding and challenging of my career. Leading the sale of a 53% equity stake of Massmart to Walmart was a unique privilege and the integration process that followed was a satisfying, albeit demanding, experience.

“I have led a remarkable team and I am immensely proud of what we have accomplished during my tenure. The group is in good shape and well positioned for growth and I can think of no better time to hand over the reins. My successor is someone with whom I have worked closely and who has the skill and energy to take Massmart forward. I would like to congratulate Guy on his appointment and wish him well in his new role.”