Metcash appoints new IHG CEO
Independent Hardware Group (IHG) Chief Executive Officer, Mark Laidlaw, will retire as CEO of the Metcash Hardware pillar as of the end of April this year, after 10 years in the role.
Metcash announced it would appoint current IHG General Manager of Merchandising, Annette Welsh as the new CEO, bringing with her over 30 years of experience across retail, wholesale and logistics.
Ms Welsh joined the company in 2010 and has previously held senior management positions with Marks & Spencer in the UK and Asia Pacific, as well as with IBM. It is believed Ms Welsh will succeed Mr Laidlaw, effective May 1.
Mr Laidlaw initially joined Metcash in 2001. Since this time Mr Laidlaw has held several senior roles including Metcash IGA Distribution Centre General Manager Victoria, before moving onto become Mitre 10’s CEO after Metcash acquired Mitre 10 in 2010.
Mr Laidlaw also went onto lead the IHG group, after the Mitre 10 and Home Timber & Hardware chains combined 780 branded stores into a $2 billion hardware giant in 2016.
Mr Laidlaw also has extensive experience in general management, sales, operations and commercial management, working for Mobil Oil prior to joining Metcash 19 years ago.
Metcash Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Adams said Mr Laidlaw had been instrumental in the growth of the hardware business, including the successful acquisition of Home Timber & Hardware in 2016 and the subsequent formation of the Independent Hardware Group (IHG).
“We thank Mark for his significant contribution and wish him well for the future,” Mr Adams said.
Metcash announced its FY2020 first half numbers (to end October 2019) in December, reporting that Metcash’s hardware sales fell by 4.2 per cent to AU$1.04 billion, while the pillar’s EBIT also fell by 1.3 per cent to AU$37.3 million. Both figures “mainly reflecting the impact of the slowdown in construction activity on trade sales”.
In terms of an industry outlook, Metcash recently reported that the, “market fundamentals for hardware over the medium to longer term remain positive with construction activity expected to be underpinned by population growth and an undersupply of housing.”