Struggling Foodworks appoints new CEO

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 28th October 2010

FoodWorks logoAustralia’s second-largest independent supermarket group, Foodworks, has appointed a new CEO to replace Peter Noble, architect of the company’s disastrous attempt to acquire 45 struggling Coles supermarkets.

Rick Wright has now been acting CEO at Foodworks for a number of months, and was previously the company’s chief operating officer.

“Rick has a strong background in finance, franchising and strategy management, which is perfect for our business model. His strong engagement and connection with our members and ability to focus on the tools and services they need to drive success is excellent,” said Foodworks chairman John Bridgfoot.

Foodworks is Australia’s second-largest independent supermarket retailer, behind the IGA group, and the company’s financial woes hit $26 million in losses this year.

Peter Noble resigned in July after almost nine years with the company, one year after the announcement by FoodWorks that it would purchase up to 45 unwanted Coles supermarkets in a $35 million dollar deal, $31.7 million of which was loaned to the company by Coles’ parent company, Wesfarmers.

The acquisition was halted in early 2010 amid financial problems, with only 22 stores transferred. FoodWorks is now divesting itself of all these locations, with nine stores already sold and one closed.

A new repayment plan has been agreed with Wesfarmers, with Foodworks repaying $6 million this year and a further $19.7 million in 2011.