New Coles Express boss Alister Jordan. Source: AFR

Former Kevin Rudd chief of staff Alister Jordan has taken up a role as the new head of Coles Express, with Coles director John Durkan calling him a “natural internal successor”.

Former Coles Express boss Simon McDowell stepped aside to make way for Queensland-born Jordan, who adds the position to his current responsibility as head of corporate affairs and online sales.

Mr Jordan worked in several commercial roles for Coles’ parent company Wesfarmers for four years, most recently as general manager of Target Australia.  Mr McDowell will instead take over the job of chief customer officer.

Mr Jordan said that he felt privileged to be given the chance to lead the next phase of the Coles transformation.

“This is a great opportunity, working with an outstanding management group and our 100,000 team members to make Coles the best food, liquor and petrol retailer in the country,” he said.

Coles managing director John Durkan said the change in post highlighted his overall commitment to improving the customer service experience.

Mr Jordan will join former Rudd economic advisor Andrew Charlton, who has been head of liquor since June 2013. Both Jordan and Charlton were recruited to the Wesfarmers fold by former CEO Richard Goyder, following Rudd’s defeat by Julia Gillard.

According to Coles’ half-yearly report released yesterday, Coles Convenience sales growth increased by 13.3 percent; though fuel volume decreased 6.4 percent.

Coles’ changes to the managerial team were followed by a shift in the Wesfarmers Group hierarchy, with Rob Scott to succeed Richard Goyder as managing director. Maintaining his current role as head of the Wesfarmers industrial division until the 1st of July, Scott will then step into the role of managing director.

Mr Scott has previously held key senior roles across the Wesfarmers Group, in which chairman Michael Chaney said he demonstrated his leadership and commercial capability.

Mr Scott will be the group’s eighth managing director in 103 years, and said it will be an honour, a privilege, and a great responsibility to step into the job.

“The Wesfarmers approach to business is ingrained in me and provides our teams with a platform to innovate and develop world class businesses,” he said.

“Building high performing teams and maintaining a disciplined approach to capital allocation will be my focus as we position the Group for the future.”

Mr Goyder said his decision to retire at the end of this year wasn’t easy. Mr Chaney paid tribute to Mr Goyder’s twelve year leadership as managing director, during which time the company’s value increased from $15 billion to around $50 billion, and included the transformative acquisition of the Coles group in 2007.

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