Woolworths Limited has appointed leading international grocery retailer Tjeerd Jegen as director of its Australian Supermarkets & Petrol division.
Forty-year-old Mr Jegen is currently chief executive of Tesco Malaysia, but started his retailing career as a management trainee with Royal Ahold, another global top-ten retailer, in his native Holland.
During his career he has held store operations, commercial, marketing and general management roles with three leading international retailers in seven countries including senior management roles for Royal Ahold in Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. His last position in Royal Ahold was vice president merchandising for the Central European region, based in Prague.
He joined the German retailer Metro in January 2007, heading the company’s Romanian Hypermarket business based in Bucharest prior to joining Tesco in 2009.
Mr Jegen was chief operating officer for Tesco in Thailand before becoming CEO in the company’s Malaysian business early last year.
Woolworths Limited deputy chief executive Grant O’Brien said while an external appointment might be viewed as an unusual one for Woolworths, Mr Jagen was an exceptional retailer capable of adding significant value.
“His breadth of experience, particularly in managing both small and large format stores as well as developing innovative private label growth strategies will help our supermarkets business meet the changing needs of our customers,” Mr O’Brien said.
Mr Jegen will succeed Greg Foran who is leaving the business to pursue other interests. He will take up his position following release from his current contractual arrangements by the end of 2011.
Speculation is already circulating around the beef industry over whether Mr Jagen’s European retailing background might colour his view towards the use of hormonal growth promotants in beef production, as some say it appeared to do in the case of major rival Coles, following the appointment of Englishman John Durkin in 2009.
HAVE YOUR SAY