Woolworths last month reported a surge in full-year operating profit, helped significantly by its acquisition in August last year of the iconic Australian department store chain. David Jones, in turn, has reported robust sales growth under its new owner.
Dixon started his career at the leading British retailer Marks & Spencer in 1986. He joined the board in 2009 as director of foods and led the turnaround there, before being appointed director of general merchandise, which returned to growth in 2015 under his management.
A statement from Woolworths said Nairn, who has been at the helm for 14 months, was resigning for personal reasons. He has agreed to stay on for three months in an advisory capacity to ensure a seamless handover. Ian Moir, Woolworths Holdings chief executive, will assist the executive committee of David Jones until Dixon takes up his new position in January.
Moir said: “John’s appointment reflects our long-term strategy to take the David Jones business to the next level. John is a world class retailer who brings with him a powerful combination of international food and fashion expertise supported by large-scale retail systems and management experience.”
Dixon said: “I am hugely excited by the future possibilities for growth and [David Jones] continuing to be the pre-eminent department store business. I’m thoroughly looking forward to the challenge and my family and I are looking forward to living in Sydney. It’s a perfect fit for me.”