Australian retailer Woolworths has announced it will bring on board Tjeerd Jegen as its new supermarket director, replacing the outgoing Greg Foran.
Mr Jegen is currently the CEO of Tesco Malaysia, and will take up the reigns at Woolworths’ Australian supermarkets and petrol division by the end of the year.
He has held senior management roles with Dutch retailer Royal Ahold in Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, has served as the CEO of German retailer Metro’s Romanian hypermarket business, and prior to his current role with Tesco was the CEO of the British retailer’s Thailand business.
The recruitment of an executive from outside Woolworths’ own ranks is an unusual move for the company, which has hired every chief executive for the last 87 years internally, but the retailer said Mr Jegen’s experience will be an asset.
“Whilst an external appointment might be viewed as an unusual one for Woolworths, Tjeerd is an exceptional retailer capable of adding significant value,” said the retailer’s incoming CEO Grant O’Brien.
“His breadth of experience, particularly in managing both small and large format stores as well as developing innovative private label growth strategies will help our supermarkets business meet the changing needs of our customers.”
Mr Jegen will replace Greg Foran, who is departing Woolworths after reportedly being passed up to take over from outgoing CEO Michael Luscombe, according to The Australian.
That role went to Mr O’Brien, who was himself one of Mr Foran’s staff.
Mr Jegen said he was looking forward to joining Woolworths and making a home for himself and his family in Australia.
“Woolworths is a fantastic company with an enviable reputation globally as a leader in logistical efficiency, a great fresh foods heritage as well as a very strong internal culture of success,” he said.