7-Eleven Chairman and CEO quit, convenience chain counter walk-outs

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 30th September 2015

Both the chairman and CEO of 7-Eleven Australia have resigned in a management restructure.


Chairman Russ Withers and Chief Executive Officer Warren Wilmot have stepped-down from their positions effective-immediately.


It has been confirmed that  Michael Smith, formerly the Chairman of iiNet, will be replacing Withers. Bob Baily, currently a non-executive director at The Muir Electrical Company (The Good Guys), will take up the role of interim CEO until someone can be permanently appointed to the position.


The  management moves in 7-Eleven are the latest developments following the original trigger of a ABC-Fairfax  investigation which alleged widespread employee underpayments.


Wilmot’s and Withers’ resignations have also come after it was yesterday alleged that there has been a jump in 7-Eleven stores for sale in Australia since the story was aired.


It was claimed by Smart Company that there were 50 franchise opportunities listed on the 7-Eleven website during the week the news broke,  this number allegedly reached 81 within the four-weeks after the story was aired.


7-Eleven has however said in response that there was a total of 81 franchises available on the 1 September 2015, the day after the news went public. The convenience chain say this number moved to 83 in the following week.


In a statement about the resignations, 7-Eleven said Wilmot acknowledged it would be hard for him to play a central role in navigating the company through its current challenges due to being in his role for so long. He said that a new independent CEO was an appropriate move.


Withers said he had originally planned to hand-over the role to Smith in 18 months however it made sense to step down with Wilmot.


“Over the longer term Michael will need to forge a very close working relationship with our new CEO so it makes sense for that process to commence from the outset,” said Withers. “Michael will lead the appointment of Warren’s replacement and take an active lead role in navigating 7- Eleven through the current issues we are facing relating to the underpayment of staff. We’re very fortunate to have someone with Michael’s credentials and track record on the board and able to step into this role. Michael’s detailed knowledge of the 7-Eleven business together with his breadth of experience across a range of boards is exactly what we need at present. Naturally this is a major decision for me to stand aside as Chairman, however I will continue to be a shareholder and I am determined to make sure the Company is in the right hands to move forward,” said Withers.


Mr Withers will however remain Chairman of the group holding company which has 7-Eleven and Starbucks, along with real estate and shares within its investment portfolio.