The Warehouse Group boss Mark Powell is to step down from the firm's helm and a process has begun to recruit a new chief executive.

New Zealand's biggest listed retailer said Powell had indicated last year that he did not see himself continuing in the role beyond February 2016.

"As a result of subsequent discussion, The Warehouse Group has announced today that a formal process has been initiated to recruit a new Group CEO," the company said. "This will allow up to 10 months to ensure a planned and orderly succession process."

Since taking up the role in 2011, Powell has spearheaded a turnaround strategy that has included a $100 million refurbishment programme for its Red Sheds stores and numerous acquisitions, including electronics chain Noel Leeming and online retailer Torpedo7.


However, there has been some impatience in the market about a lack of bottom-line results.

Prominent fund managers told the Herald in January that the strategy had failed and changes needed to take place at the CEO and board level.

The company reported a 19 per cent drop in adjusted first-half profit, to $37.2 million, this month.

Powell said he never saw himself staying in the role "for more than the four to five years required to establish a new strategic platform and culture for the future".

"The last four years have been personally very fulfilling The group is now very different. Customers and the team have seen the positive difference.

The challenge in the next strategic cycle is to fully translate this platform into profitable growth for our shareholders in the future. I know we have the team in place to do this."
Powell said he did not want to take on another executive role.

"Instead I will look to apply my knowledge, skills and experience where I can to help in my areas of passion, both in the faith-based not-for-profit sector and as a professional company director," he said.

Warehouse founder Sir Stephen Tindall said Powell had made a tremendous contribution to the retailer.


"His goal was to drive this phase of the strategic journey by starting with the customer and putting a real focus on people, culture and a clear way of working," Tindall said.

"This has provided the strategic path and investment required to transition the business from Red and Blue into a broader group encompassing new businesses, including financial services.

At the same time he addressed the changing market needs with online and digital demands.

Mark has positioned the business well for a new leader to take the group on the next phase of its strategic journey and drive the results from these investments."