Myer CEO Richard Umbers steps down

Myer CEO Richard Umbers steps down

Chief executive Richard Umbers (pictured) of embattled retailer Myer (ASX: MYR) has stepped down on Wednesday morning.

Chairman Garry Hounsell has been appointed executive chairman while the search for a new CEO takes place.

In a statement, Hounsell said the board can no longer tolerate underperformance and that a leadership change is in order to shape the company's future.

"We are impatient for a turnaround in the company's performance and the board has determined that it is in the interests of all shareholders for there to be a fresh approach to drive our future direction," says Hounsell.

He continues to stress that at the time of his appointment as chairman in late 2017, he was impatient and the announcement of Umbers' resignation reflected his "desire to drive, first-hand, the urgency required to deliver shareholder value."

On Friday 9 February, the company said its net profit estimate will be between $37 million and $41 million for the first half, down $62.8 million for the same period last year. This estimate excludes impairment charges it is yet to calculate.

Myer's misfortunes continue to grow despite what appeared to be an effort to turn the company around in late 2017, spurred on by the vitriol of activist shareholder Solomon Lew.

Instead, over the last six months, Myer has announced store closures, cut jobs, and written down investments. Umbers' turnaround strategy, announced at the company's AGM, failed to gain traction against a backdrop of sluggish consumer activity and the market's move to online retail.

The company's 2017 full year profit was down 80.3 per cent to $11.9 million, mostly because of $45.6 million in writedowns against its investments in TopShop and sass & bide.

The sharemarket has reacted to the resignation of Umbers as shares in Myer are up 3.74 per cent to $0.56 per share at 10.11am AEDT.

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