WESFARMERS' controversial "imported" Coles supermarket boss Ian McLeod is to move to a senior management role with the big retailing and industrial conglomerate in July.
Scottish-born Mr McLeod, who is credited with leading a major turnaround the Coles retailing business fortunes since he was brought to Australia in 2008, is to work closely alongside Wesfarmers managing director Richard Goyder.
He will be replaced at Coles by chief operating officer John Durkan, who was also lured from the supermarket industry in the UK to work at Coles in 2008 after Wesfarmers took over the business the previous year.
Although successful in helping rejuvenate Coles, many of the price cutting strategies employed by the two have provoked intense criticism of the supermarket's marketing behaviour and attitude to food processors and suppliers.
Coles' decision to lead an industry-wide cut in the retail price of house brand milk to $1 a litre in early 2011 has been blamed for widespread financial losses and unsustainability in the Australian dairy industry for farmers and domestic processors.
However, Mr Goyder said he was delighted Mr McLeod would be staying in Australia to continue to contribute to the future growth of Coles parent company, Wesfarmers.
He will become group commercial director "building on his leadership during the first six years of the Coles turnaround", Mr Goyder said.
Mr Durkan joined Coles as merchandising director in July 2008 and has been involved in many areas of the business before becoming COO in June last year.
Prior to arriving in Australia he worked with large scale UK food and petrol retailer and convience store operator, Safeway Stores for 17 years and then Carphone Warehouse, the largest independent mobile phone retailer in Britain.