/ 2 October 2023

Summers returns to revamp vintage Pick ‘n Pay with Ferrari drive

Pick N Pay Group Chief Executive, Sean Summers. Sean Summers 2023 1
Sean Summers.

Pick n Pay chief executive Pieter Boone is stepping down, the retail group announced on Monday.

Boone, who was appointed to the position in April 2021, will be replaced by former Pick n Pay chief executive Sean Summers, who led the company from 1999 to 2006. 

Commenting on the leadership change, Pick n Pay chair Gareth Ackerman thanked Boone for steering the retailer over the past two-and-a-half years — a period marked by the transition out of the Covid lockdown, the unprecedented civil unrest in 2021 and a more-severe energy crisis. 

“Unfortunately, in a very difficult environment, the performance of our core Pick n Pay business has been very challenging over the past months and has not met expectations,” Ackerman said. 

“Pieter accepts that the board has decided on a change in leadership. He leaves us with our heartfelt thanks and best wishes for the future.”

Boone’s replacement has a long history at Pick n Pay, having worked for the group from 1974 to 2007. 

According to the statement announcing the leadership change, Summer’s tenure saw  Pick n Pay become a clear grocery market leader in South Africa. “The late Raymond Ackerman described Sean as an excellent leader, who achieved remarkable things at Pick n Pay’,” the statement reads.

The announcement comes less than a month after the Pick n Pay founder’s death.

Gareth Ackerman commented: “We are delighted that Sean is coming back to Pick n Pay. His knowledge and experience is unrivalled. He is passionate about getting Pick n Pay back on to the right trajectory and winning the trust and confidence of customers new and old. He is absolutely the right person for the job at this time.”

Summers said he was looking forward to taking on the task. “I enjoyed the most extraordinary years, working with the late Raymond Ackerman, and we retained a deep personal relationship to the end,” he said. 

“The best way I can honour Raymond and Wendy’s legacy is to put Pick n Pay back onto its rightful path to growth and success. I worked closely with Gareth for many years, and we will make a great team together.”

On Monday, the group reported that it expects to have incurred incremental abnormal costs of about R565 million for the first half of the 2024 financial year, including diesel costs to run generators as well as those sustained as a result of the group’s restructuring.

The group now no longer expects to make a profit excluding these costs. “The more negative performance relative to the group’s previous guidance is due to gross profit margin for the period being below our previous expectation,” it said in a shareholder update.