Brookes’s appointment is effective from September 2015.
Brookes has a retail career spanning over 35 years, having worked for Woolworths Australia and spent three years working in projects in China, Hong Kong and India. He then worked at Australia’s upmarket retailer Myer as CEO and was part of a buyout of the company’s department stores.
“We are very pleased to have Bernie joining the team. He has significant experience not only in apparel retailing in the southern hemisphere but also specifically department stores and emerging markets,” Edcon’s chairperson Dwight Poler, said yesterday.
Schreiber’s decision to not renew his contract raised eyebrows and added fuel to suggestions the company is carrying an unsustainable financial burden. Schreiber’s move comes at a time when Edcon battles with its R22.6 billion debt load and underperforming retail stores.
Edcon, which is owned by US private equity firm Bain Capital Partners, needs to repay R4.7 billion of euro, dollar and rand debt by 2017. Bain acquired Edcon in 2007 for R25 billion. It announced a capital restructure strategy which is underway. It is in discussion with bank lenders on potential new financing transactions to reduce debt.
Schreiber, who joined Edcon in 2011, will move to a new role as vice-chairperson of Edcon. At Edcon’s recent results media briefing in May, Schreiber said he would not work for another retailer, “as I am still engaged with Edcon”. He did not disclose which company he was moving to.
The retailer has retained investment banks Houlihan Lokey and Goldman Sachs to assist with the assessment and implementation of funding initiatives.
The Edcon board also made more leadership changes. It has appointed Roanne Daniels and Urin Ferndale as joint interim chief executive officers, until Brookes takes over.