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DJs gets new chairman, keeps CEO

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Origin Energy chairman and former beverages executive Gordon Cairns is the new chairman of retailer David Jones.

His appointment follows the resignation of current chairman Peter Mason, and two other board members, in the wake of investor outrage at controversial share trading.

Cairns was the chief executive of Lion Nathan from 1997 to 2004, and has also held senior executive positions at PepsiCo, Imperial Group and Cadbury Schweppes.

He was also chairman of sports retailer Rebel Group, and recently retired from the board of Westpac.

Shortly after the decision was announced today, David Jones chief executive Paul Zahra announced he has reversed his decision to resign and will stay on at the retailer.

Mr Zahra announced in October 2013 he would step down once the company found someone to replace him.

But as the search dragged on, shareholders have been calling on Mr Zahra to stay.

The company has also received a $3 billion merger proposal from rival Myer, which David Jones is currently reviewing.

The company’s sales have also improved, growing by almost five per cent in the three months to January 25.

“My commitment and loyalty has intensified in recent months given the changes and uncertainty that the business has experienced,” Mr Zahra said in a statement on Tuesday.

“I am very grateful and humbled by the support I have received from our new chairman, the board, our shareholders and staff, and I feel a renewed sense of purpose and commitment to the business.”

 

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