7-Eleven Stores Pty Ltd (“7-Eleven” or the “Company”) advises that effective immediately Chief Executive Officer Mr Warren Wilmot will stand down as CEO of the Company and as a result, Chairman Mr Russell Withers has brought forward plans to transition the Chairman role to independent Non-Executive Director and Deputy Chair Michael Smith. Mr Smith will assume the role of Chairman while Mr Bob Baily has been appointed interim CEO. Mr Smith will lead an executive search process to identify a permanent candidate for the CEO role.
Mr Wilmot offered his resignation following the recent realisation of the extent to which 7-Eleven franchisees had underpaid workers. Mr Wilmot acknowledged it would be difficult for him to play a central role in navigating the Company through the current challenges it
faces given his long standing executive role and that a new independent CEO was appropriate in the current circumstances. The Board acknowledges the accomplishments of Mr Wilmot during his term as CEO and the character he has shown to step aside to assist the
Company to move forward.
Outgoing Chairman Russell Withers said his original 7-Eleven Board succession plan had been to hand the chair over to Mr Smith in 18 months, however in the wake of Mr Wilmot’s resignation it made sense to bring that transition forward.
“Over the longer term Michael will need to forge a very close working relationship with our new CEO so it makes sense for that process to commence from the outset. Michael will lead the appointment of Warren’s replacement and take an active lead role in navigating 7-Eleven through the current issues we are facing relating to the underpayment of staff.
“We’re very fortunate to have someone with Michael’s credentials and track record on the board and able to step into this role. Michael’s detailed knowledge of the 7-Eleven business together with his breadth of experience across a range of boards is exactly what we need at present. Naturally this is a major decision for me to stand aside as Chairman, however I will continue to be a shareholder and I am determined to make sure the Company is in the right hands to move forward,” said Mr Withers.
Mr Withers will remain Chairman of the group holding company, that has as its investments 7-Eleven and Strabucks together with real estate and a share portfolio.
Incoming Chairman Michael Smith said 7-Eleven has implemented a number of actions to identify the true extent of the under payment of staff by franchisees and implement appropriate and lasting remedies, including refining the business model in cooperation with
Prior to recent media coverage of the matter, the Company was working closely with the Fair Work Ombudsman in conjunction with international accounting firm Ernst & Young to investigate allegations of franchisees underpaying workers. Furthermore, the Company has
also recently appointed Professor Allan Fels to chair an independent panel to specifically identify underpaid workers and the quantum owed. Any valid claims of underpayment will be met by 7-Eleven in lieu of seeking recompense from the relevant franchisees.