Paul Zahra appointed Chief executive Officer of Australian retailers association

The Council of the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Paul Zahra as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Paul will take up the role in May 2020.

Paul is a highly-regarded career retailer whose previous executive roles have included CEO and Managing Director of David Jones and senior leadership roles at David Jones, Officeworks and Target.

ARA President, Rowan Hodge, said: “We are delighted to have secured a leader of Paul’s calibre to lead the ARA as it strives to bring the industry together and create “One Voice” for small, medium and large retailers.

“Paul brings a deep understanding of retail and the issues and opportunities faced by the industry and our members. His inclusive and progressive leadership style, retail and digital expertise, broad networks, experience leading transformation, and strong vision for the ARA and the future of retail will be invaluable as the organisation moves forward.

Mr Hodge also paid tribute to outgoing Executive Director, Russell Zimmerman, saying: “We thank Russell for his commitment to the ARA and our members. We wish him all the best in his future endeavours.”

Paul Zahra said: “More than 1.3 million working Australians are employed in retail. The sector is Australia’s largest employer of young people, and well over half of those employed in retail are women. Retail offers diverse and flexible career opportunities, everything from your first job, to a job in data analytics, merchandising or supply chain and logistics.

“In the last twenty years, the disruption and transformation of the sector has been significant as a result of ongoing changes in technology and consumer behaviour. However, what excites me is the untold story of innovation, whether in store formats, in online marketplaces, or the many small businesses that started life in someone’s living room.

“This sector has the capacity to adapt and evolve, the power to connect people and communities, and the ability to make dreams a reality. I am optimistic about what lies ahead and look forward to supporting and advocating for our members as we overcome challenges, embrace transformation and evolve with the customers we serve.”

Please refer to attachment for Paul Zahra’s biography.

About the Australian Retailers Association

The ARA is Australia’s largest retail industry association with 7,500 independent and national retail members, of which 95 percent are small and medium sized businesses. In late 2019 the ARA announced that several of Australia’s major retailers would be joining its membership thereby enabling the ARA to become truly representative of the full breadth of the Australian retail sector.

Founded in 1903, the ARA has a proud history of representing Australia’s retail sector providing advocacy, events, research, support and education services to its members.

Retail makes a significant economic and social contribution at a local and national level. The industry is Australia’s largest private sector employer and represents one fifth of the nation’s economy.

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