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Pick n Pay CEO to retire in April

Richard Brasher has been at the helm for eight years.

Richard Brasher, the chief executive of South Africa’s Pick n Pay Stores, will retire with effect from April 21 after eight years at the helm, the grocer said on Thursday.

Basher will be succeeded as CEO by Pieter Boone, former Chief Operating Officer of German retailer Metro AG.

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According to Pick n Pay’s statement Pieter Boone (53), a Dutch national living in The Netherlands, has spent the majority of his career to date in senior roles in Metro AG, a leading international business in the food and hospitality sector, and SHV Holdings NV, one of the world’s largest private trading groups, which includes the major Makro Cash & Carry wholesale business. The Makro business was acquired by Metro and Pieter moved across to Metro. An application for the necessary work permit for Pieter has been submitted for approval.

Chairman Gareth Ackerman said Brasher has led a remarkable turnaround in the company, and that the group “is immeasurably stronger now than when Richard took over in 2013.”

“He has almost doubled Pick n Pay’s store network, and has grown turnover from R55 billion when he joined the company to almost R90 billion. As well as delivering consistent and sustainable profit growth, modernising the Pick n Pay business, expanding our offer and transforming our efficiency, Richard has led the transformation of Boxer into Africa’s fastest-growing limited range discounter.”

Brasher originally told the board of his intention to step down over a year ago, and agreed to remain at the helm until a successor could be found. 

“Pieter has exceptional global retail experience across a number of diverse geographies.  He has consistently demonstrated the ability to lead and deliver sustainable growth in tough and emerging markets.  His wide-ranging experience will stand him in very good stead across all areas of the Pick n Pay business, including Boxer and franchise, our growing online offer, and our value-added services,” said Ackerman. 

Brasher said: “This is in many ways a sad day for me, but also an exceptionally proud one.  I have worked in retail now for 35 years, traded across four continents and 24 countries. I have held the highest office in two great retailers, and have had a truly memorable career.

“My aim when joining Pick n Pay eight years ago was simply to leave the business in a much stronger position than I found it.  I am extremely grateful to my team and the whole Pick n Pay and Boxer family for helping me to deliver this goal.  The past year in particular has been the most unforgettable of my long career.  In the face of the most incredible headwinds, our business and our people have stood strong, taken every challenge in their stride, and worked harder than ever before. We have delivered for the people who matter most – our customers. This has been the best testimony I could want in demonstrating that our business is strong, modern, flexible, and ready to seize the huge opportunities of the future.”

Boone said Brasher leaves the business in a very strong position, “with huge potential to grow and serve more customers.  Retail is changing throughout the world, and my job will be to ensure that the Pick n Pay Group is at the forefront of change – earning the lifetime loyalty of more customers by giving them more, better and new ways to shop with Pick n Pay and Boxer.”

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PnP turnover in 2013–R55 billion, turnover in 2020 is R90 Billion. That is 60% growth. Inflation compounded fo the same period is 47%. Add in new store openings and his achievement do not seem very remarkable. PnP is a far second behind Shoprite Checkers, more so than under Brasher!

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