Bapcor’s new CEO to rev up home brand push in auto parts – The Australian Financial Review
The company lifted its interim dividend to 10¢ per share, from 11¢ a year ago. Bapcor shares slipped by 4.7 per cent to $6.73 by 11.45am (AEDT).
Mr Meehan, who earlier in his career was chief financial officer for Penfolds and Wolf Blass owner Treasury Wine Estates and transport group Toll Holdings, was thrust into the role as acting CEO on December 6.
He had been Bapcor’s CFO since June 2020.
He said on Wednesday the broader strategy would be unchanged from that developed by Mr Abotomey, but there would be some “nuanced” shifts in emphasis.
One of those areas was a step-up in the push already underway to bring even more private label car parts and accessories into the Bapcor stable, to sit alongside established brands.
“There is lots and lots of opportunity to accelerate what we do on private label,” Mr Meehan said.
He also said he aimed to “unleash the power of people”, by giving them more opportunities for training and advancement. Bapcor has a workforce of 5000.
Mr Meehan said there had been some initial hiccups as Bapcor shifted three smaller warehousing operations into one very large distribution centre at Tullamarine in outer Melbourne, compounded by the need to use extra contract labour to cover for people isolating or ill from COVID-19.
“There have been some teething issues,” he said.
Bapcor’s inventory in the December half increased by about $38 million as the group deliberately lifted stock levels to try to create a buffer against supply chain disruptions and items caught up in transit delays from overseas.
Bapcor chairwoman Margie Haseltine said she would stay on as executive chairwoman until March 31 to enable a smooth transition to Mr Meehan.
She emphasised that he had been the best candidate in a global process undertaken by recruitment firm Egon Zehnder, where several external candidates went right through the process. “We took them to the wire,” she said.
Ms Haseltine acknowledged that Bapcor had been through a rough time but was now looking ahead.
“We’ve been through some troubled times, internally and externally,” she said.
Mr Abotomey had steered Bapcor from being a sharemarket minnow to a large player with a sharemarket capitalisation of $2.8 billion, and had been at the helm since 2011. But he had a falling out with the board over the timing of succession planning and what Ms Haseltine, said was a need for a more “contemporary” approach to management.