Retail appointments of the week


New group CEO and managing director at Jaycar 

The Jaycar Group has appointed Chris Wilesmith as its new group CEO and managing director following a formal CEO succession plan.

Wilesmith returns to Australia after a two-year stint as CEO of Mitre10 NZ. According to the Large Format Retail Association, he was a part of the Super Retail Group executive leadership team, and served as the managing director of Supercheap Auto for seven years.

He replaced the outgoing CEO Michael Newsom, who has retired.

Chair of the Jaycar Group, Kerry Johnston said that he will be building on the foundations of founder Gary Johnston, who passed away in March this year.

“Chris is a highly accomplished managing director, CEO and business retail leader, having spent more than 30 years in mass FMCG, specialty, big-box and omni-channel retail wholesale trade businesses with a broad experience obtained through many operational and support office roles,” Johnston said.

“Innovation, leadership and courage are required, and we see Chris as expertly placed to lead us through the exciting times ahead for the Group.”

New Centre Manager at premier SA shopping destination

Harbour Town Premier Outlets Adelaide (HTPOA) has appointed Kylie Neal as the new centre manager.

Neal, who has worked in the shopping centre industry for 25 years, joins the shopping destination after six years at Adelaide’s Central Plaza in Rundle Mall.

Head of retail management at Lewis Land Group, Meredith Hayes, said the appointment of Neal follows a period of significant change over the last 18 months. 

During this period, HTPOA has opened nine new stores, refurbished 29 stores, and upgraded their northern mall.

“We are thrilled with the results and can’t wait for Kylie to guide us through our next phase of growth,” Hayes said.

Neal added that the Lewis Land Group is committed to ensuring that Harbour Town Premium Outlets Adelaide continues to evolve, and provides the ultimate outdoor shopping experience.

“I’m looking forward to guiding the centre through its next evolution, which starts with the opening of Nike next month,” she said.

New World Development CEO conferred honour by French Consul-General

​The Executive Vice-chairman and CEO of New World Development, Dr Adrien Cheng, has received the ‘Officier de l’Ordre National du Mérite” by French Consul-General, Christile Drulhe

Dr Cheng heads the Hong Kong company, which includes property, infrastructure, hotels and other consumer and technology businesses. He established the K11 shopping centre, a retail museum which mixes art and commerce, and was ranked as Asia’s most influential retail leader by Inside Retail.

Cheng is also the co-founder of venture capital company C Ventures. One of the investor’s projects is a partnership with Chow Tai Fook and New York startup Flont to launch a high-end jewellery rental service in Asia, enabling consumers to discover and wear pieces they can’t afford to buy. 

At the ceremony, Drulhe said that “France wishes to express its gratitude to a true friend who has been working tirelessly to foster stronger relations between France and Hong Kong, as well as the rest of China.”

“I am honoured to confer this distinction on Adrian Cheng on behalf of the President of the French Republic.”

Target reveals new chief digital officer

The US based Target Corporation has revealed Prat Vemana to be the company’s new executive vice president, as well as chief digital and product officer.

Starting 31 October, Vemana will oversee Target’s digital business responsibilities, which includes site merchandising, user experience and Target+, the company’s third-party marketplace.

Prior to this role, Vemana was the senior vice president and chief digital officer at Kaiser Permanente, and has previously worked in digital leadership roles at The Home Depot and Staples. 

In an interview with Target, he said that he was impressed by the universal appeal of the brand. 

“It is rare to see a single brand that is relevant across generations … [and] It matters to me that Target is a company which takes action on its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion,” Vemana said.


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