Zyda Rylands, die nuwe uitvoerende hoof van Woolworths Suid-Afrika.

Zyda Rylands, die nuwe uitvoerende hoof van Woolworths Suid-Afrika.

Woolworths will no longer have a CEO for its SA operations after the current person in the role, Zyda Rylands, is stepping down after leading the division for six years. 

The retailer announced on Monday morning that Rylands was leaving her role as Woolworth SA (WSA) CEO and as executive director of Woolworths Holdings Limited due to “due to personal circumstances”. 

“The group has reviewed its leadership structure for WSA and will not retain the WSA CEO role as it seeks to streamline its operating model,” it said. 

The retailer said the Rylands agreed to defer her planned early retirement to remain with the group until 2024.

“For the remainder of her tenure, she will focus her energies and her passion on leading the WSA Foods business, which she has been instrumental in growing and positioning as an industry-leading, food retailer.”

Woolworths said in July that group sales for the year increased by 9.7% as a result of improved trade performance coupled with strong working capital management and the proceeds from property sales in Australia. However its recovery for its SA operations has been set back by the onset of the third wave of infections and the recent unrest that hit parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

“The consequential level 4 restrictions have further dampened already-weak consumer confidence, which is expected to limit discretionary spend.

“Furthermore, the civil unrest and related widespread destruction of property will also negatively impact economic conditions, consumer sentiment and constrain our ability to trade in impacted areas,” the group said in a statement at the time. 

Eleven Woolworths stores were looted and severely damaged – with nine in KwaZulu-Natal and two in Gauteng.

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