Woolworths Holdings has announced that Country Road Group CEO Scott Fyfe will take up a new position as David Jones CEO. 

Fyfe will replace interim CEO Ian Moir who will leave the business at the end of November, marking David Jones' fifth CEO in six years. 

During his tenure, Moir was widely questioned around his acquisition of the David Jones in 2014, as the group has had to write down the value of the $2 billion twice since purchase.

The appointment comes as Woolworths Holdings looks to shake up the David Jones operations after posting a $33 million loss for the year. 

Woolworths Holdings chairman Hubert Brody said that the business will optimise three key pillars to get the business back on track. 

"In Australia, David Jones underperformed and we did not reach the targets that we had set ourselves for the first half.

"The second half of the year started more promisingly; however, there is now, particularly during the after-effects of the pandemic, significant work required to do justice to David Jones, which is an iconic and important part of the retail landscape in Australia.

"Importantly, this will include the optimisation of our store portfolio, physical and virtual, and capitalising on our refurbished flagship store in Elizabeth Street, Sydney," he said. 

As part of the optimisation, Woolworths Holdings is currently undertaking a review of its Australasian property portfolio which has already seen the sale off its Bourke St Menswear store for $121 million.  

"We intend to use proceeds generated as a result of these initiatives towards the repayment and cancelation of debt," Woolworths said in a statement. 

"Furthermore, rationalising our store footprint and reducing our retail space remains a critical focus area for the business.

"The dramatic shift to online shopping has further heightened the significance and urgency of these efforts.

"Discussions with our Australasian landlords are currently underway with a view to accelerating the rationalisation of the store network and further reducing floor space," the business said. 

Overall, David Jones finished the year with turnover and concession sales down by 17.2% in H2, ending the year 6.4% below the prior year.

The department store's online sales grew by 100.7% in H2, contributing 18.4% to sales, while gross profit margin was 2.7% lower than the prior year, due to the increased clearance activity in the last quarter to generate cash and reduce inventory levels. 

Meanwhile, The Sydney Morning Herald suggests that a recruitment process for a new Country Road Group CEO is underway.

In the interim, Country Road MD Elle Roseby and Witchery MD Simon Schofield will jointly run the business, the repoert said.

Fyfe has led Country Road Group for four years and has previously served 13 years at Marks and Spencer. 

Fyfe will begin his role at David Jones on October 26. 

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