Former Prime Minister Bill English has been appointed to the board of ASX-listed conglomerate Wesfarmers, which owns Bunnings Australia and New Zealand, Kmart and Officeworks.

English was minister of finance and deputy prime minister from October 2008 to December 2016, and PM after John Key stepped down in December 2016 until October 2017, when National lost the general election. English retired from Parliament in March.

Wesfarmers' chair Michael Chaney said the board was "extremely pleased" to have English, "given his outstanding record of financial management and government policy development and Wesfarmers' extensive business interests in New Zealand."

"Bill guided the New Zealand economy through the global financial crisis to be one of the faster growing developed economies with sustainable government surpluses," Chaney said in a statement yesterday, adding that English's appointment would strengthen the board's mix of skills, knowledge and experience.


English said he was looking forward to contributing to the board's strategic oversight of the business's portfolio and opportunities to add shareholder value.

In February, Wesfarmers reported a net profit of A$1.58 billion ($1.6b) for the six months to December 31, up 13 per cent on the year, and operating revenue was A$34.9b, up 4.3 per cent on the year. It announced an interim dividend of A$1.03 per share, also a 13 per cent increase on the year.

Bunnings Australia and New Zealand reported earnings growth of 9.8 per cent to A$770 million with revenue growth of 8.3 per cent in the first half, while Kmart's earnings rose 16 per cent to A$371m on revenue growth of 8.9 per cent. The company said it had begun a strategic review of its Officeworks division which could include an initial public offering.

Wesfarmers' ASX-listed shares last traded at A$43.91, up 0.3 per cent today and up 0.7 per cent over the past 12 months.