Matthew Dunckley, 18 March 2016

Embattled convenience chain 7-Eleven has appointed a new chief executive as it seeks to recover from last year’s wages scandal.

7-Eleven chairman Michael Smith announced on Friday that former Skilled Group chief executive Angus McKay would take the helm of the franchise’s Australian business.

Working with franchisees as well as our suppliers and other stakeholders will be a crucial part in 7-Eleven’s on-going success.

Last year a Fairfax Media and Four Corners investigation revealed widespread rorting of workers wages at 7-Eleven, prompting a company-wide review, the departure of then chief executive Warren Wilmot and the establishment of a new model giving a greater share of profits to franchise owners.

Mr Smith said Mr McKay would start immediately. His appointment followed a global recruitment search.

He will take over from interim chief executive Bob Baily, who will remain a member of the 7-Eleven Board.

Reviews ongoing

Mr Smith said the appointment was a “crucial part” of the company’s strategic reform program.

Mr McKay joins the company as former competition commissioner Allan Fels continues his review into cases of underpayment and claims of continuing rorts such as the so-called cash-back scheme, where franchisees demand workers pay back some of their wages in cash.

Unhappy franchisees have also demanded further changes, with a number of stores put up for sale.

“Mr McKay is a proven builder of strong and connected teams and has created successful cultures in multiple business environments, which makes him a perfect fit for 7-Eleven,” Mr Smith said.

“Angus has a long and successful history across a range of industries and in many parts of the world where he has brought a strategic approach to business development as well as operational capability and efficiency, which are all important attributes to building the new 7-Eleven.”

‘Delighted’ to join

In a statement, Mr McKay said he was “delighted” to join the business, which has more than 600 stores around the country.

Mr McKay was replaced at the helm of Skilled, where cutting costs out of the labour hire business was a key challenge, following its merger with Programmed Maintenance late last year.

He has also worked as an executive at Asciano, Pacific National and Foster’s Group.

“I am committed to building a strong relationship with our franchisees and enabling them to run their stores in a way that delivers value for them as small business people, provides innovative and quality products and outstanding service for customers and where stores are satisfying places to work,” he said.

“Working with franchisees as well as our suppliers and other stakeholders will be a crucial part in 7-Eleven’s on-going success and being an industry leader.”

Mr McKay said the reform program was a central plank in the company’s future.

Company founder and joint owner Russell Withers, who stood down as chairman following the wages scandal, welcomed the appointment.

“Mr McKay’s experience will bring new thinking and a fresh approach to our business that would enable 7-Eleven to remain Australia’s No.1 convenience store operator,” he said.

Extracted in full from the Sydney Morning Herald.