Coles Liquor has announced CEO Darren Blackhurst has stepped down to return to the United Kingdom so he and his wife can be closer to their ageing parents and children.
Blackhurst joined the company in 2020, replacing Acting Liquor Director Cathi Scarce who spent two years in the role after Greg Davis was appointed as the Chief Operating Officer of Coles.
Coles CEO Steven Cain said: “Under his leadership, we reset our Liquor strategy to be a simpler, more accessible and locally relevant drinks specialist. This included renewing 426 Liquorland stores to the highly successful ‘black and white’ format, increasing sales of exclusive and local liquor brands, significantly enhancing our omnichannel presence and building capability and leadership at all levels within the business.
“Our Liquor business is being transformed for customers and has delivered sales growth of more than 15% in the past three years.”
Blackhurst said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to be part of the Coles team and a privilege to lead the Liquor business for the past three and a half years. I hope the team is immensely proud of what they have delivered and achieved together,” he said.
Blackhurst will continue to lead Coles Liquor as CEO until 30 June. A recruitment process for his role has commenced.
His resignation comes a year after Endeavour Group announced that Alex Freudmann had resigned from his role as Dan Murphy’s Managing Director to return home to the United Kingdom.
At the time, Fredudmann said: “It has been a privilege to lead an amazing team at Dan Murphy’s over the past two years and to have been a custodian of such a special brand.
“However, the time is now right for me to return home to the United Kingdom with my family, and to pursue other opportunities there. I believe I am leaving the Dan Murphy’s business in a position of strength and with an exciting future ahead.”
Soon afterwards, Freudmann was announced as the new Managing Director of Food at British retailer M&S.