SOUTH AFRICA – South African grocery retailer Pick n Pay has announced the resignation of its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Pieter Boone, who will be leaving the company with immediate effect.

Boone, who assumed the role in January 2021, has stepped down after less than two and a half years in the position.

The decision for his departure was made by the board, which deemed a change in leadership necessary to steer the retailer back onto a positive trajectory.

“Unfortunately, in a very difficult environment, the performance of our core Pick n Pay business has been very challenging over the past months, and has not met expectations,” board chair Gareth Ackerman said in a statement.

He expressed the company’s acknowledgement of the difficult circumstances and conveyed their gratitude to Pieter Boone for his contributions while extending best wishes for his future endeavours.

To succeed Boone, Pick n Pay has appointed former CEO Sean Summers, who previously held the position from 1999 to 2007.

Summers assumed the role with immediate effect, with the primary objective of revitalizing the company’s core business.

The return of Summers, praised by Pick n Pay pioneer Raymond Ackerman as an excellent leader, is seen as a positive step to get the company back on track.

Gareth Ackerman, reflecting on Summers’ appointment, highlighted Summers’ unrivalled knowledge and experience, emphasizing his passion for restoring Pick n Pay to a positive trajectory while earning the trust and confidence of both new and existing customers.

Summers is regarded as an inspirational leader who will galvanize the company’s teams to deliver exceptional customer service and benefit the communities they serve.

During his reappointment, Sean Summers expressed his commitment to honouring Raymond Ackerman’s memory by guiding Pick n Pay towards growth and success.

Boone’s departure comes as the company faces challenges in navigating a changing retail landscape.

Recently, Pick n Pay, valued at approximately US$324.48 million on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, reported a loss in its half-year results ending on August 27. This loss was attributed to increased competition, power load shedding, and a sluggish consumer economy.

Following the announcement of Boone’s resignation, Pick n Pay’s shares experienced a nearly 11% decline in morning trade, marking a more than 44% loss over the past year.

In a trading update issued in July, the company disclosed abnormal costs totalling approximately US$11.62 million during the 16 weeks leading up to July 24 and the first half of the 2024 financial year.

These costs, in conjunction with prior-year profits of nearly US$12.79 million, led to the anticipation of a first-half loss at various earnings levels, including earnings, headline earnings, and pro forma headline earnings.