Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci steps down amid recent controversies

Feb 21, 2024
In a statement addressing his departure, Banducci reflected on his time with Woolworths. Source: Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS.

The long-serving CEO of Woolworths Group Brad Banducci has announced his departure after 13 years with the company. His exit follows a period of notable accomplishments and recent controversies that have marked his leadership.

Banducci, who served as Group CEO for eight and a half years, faced a challenging moment just days before his announcement when he abruptly walked out of an interview with ABC’s Four Corners.

The interview focused on accusations of price gouging and a perceived lack of competition in the industry, adding fuel to the ongoing debate about pricing within the context of the cost of living crisis.

In a statement addressing his departure, Banducci reflected on his time with Woolworths, saying, “It has been a privilege to be a member of the Woolies team and one I have never taken for granted.”

“We have a wonderfully talented and passionate team at Woolworths Group, as personified in Amanda Bardwell, and I look forward to working with Amanda and our team over the next few months as we set ourselves up for the next chapter,” he said.

Amanda Bardwell, who currently leads the supermarket group’s e-commerce division, will step into the role of the 13th CEO when Banducci retires on September 1.

Woolworths Group Chair Scott Perkins thanked Banducci for his “outstanding leadership” during his time with the supermarket giant while also welcoming Bardwell into her new role.

“Brad has led a remarkable turnaround and transformation of the Group,” Perkins said.

“He has engendered a Customer 1st Team 1st culture, worked to strengthen existing businesses and build digital, eCommerce and analytics capabilities that are seen by our peers as world leading. Most importantly, he has built a team of amazing calibre. Woolworths Group has been fortunate to have Brad as its leader and he has indeed helped us to be better together.

“The test of any CEO is to leave the business in much better shape than when they started. On that simple metric, history will judge Brad to have been one of Woolworths Group’s finest leaders.

“Following an extensive international search process supported by external consultants, we are thrilled to announce the appointment of Amanda as the incoming and 13th Managing Director and Group CEO of Woolworths Group, as the Group starts its next century of creating better experiences together for a better tomorrow.

“Amanda is a proven leader, business builder and modern retailer. Most recently, under her leadership, WooliesX has gone from infancy in 2015 to a $7bn market leading business. Amanda is highly respected throughout the organisation and I know, like Brad, will live our purpose and work hard to achieve Woolworths Group’s full potential.”

Banducci’s departure is not without its share of controversy. In addition to allegations of price gouging, the decision by Woolworths to stop selling Australia Day merchandise added further challenges to the supermarket giant.

The move drew criticism from various quarters, leading to a wave of reactions from frustrated customers and a social media storm.

-with AAP.

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