Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  23 Jan 2011

RETAILING: Sideways Or Upwards For Ackerman Jnr


Recent Western Cape Business News

ARE we seeing a tacit admission that no-one in the Ackerman family is likely – at least in the medium term – to step into the shoes of the great retailer Raymond Ackerman? Or is a longer-term succession plan involving an Ackerman family member being scripted?

Raymond Ackerman, who founded the Pick n Pay empire nearly fifty years ago, has left huge boots to fill at the family controlled retailer and although no less than four other family members (including wife Wendy and daughter Suzanne) sit on the Pick n Pay board, the hot seat at the retailer is unlikely to filled by a non-family member in the short-term.

Ackerman senior – the doyen of SA’s retail sector – stepped out of the CEO’s role more than a decade ago, although he did cling onto an executive chairmanship for a number of years.

Eldest son Gareth was initially in the running for the top job at Pick n Pay in the late eighties when he headed the Group Enterprises division – which housed all the brands outside the flagship Pick n Pay stores.

But Gareth fell away in a restructuring which put the reins in the hands of Sean Summers, who fairly recently shifted off and was replaced by current CEO Nick Badminton.

There has been some hope that Jonathan Ackerman – who became a full board member in March last year – might be groomed for the CEO role in Pick n Pay.

Jonathan Ackerman, who kicked off his career as a trainee manager in the Western Cape in the early nineties – came to prominence as the GM of 7-Eleven.

The 7-Eleven stint was short-lived, however, as Pick n Pay opted to divest from this convenience store franchise.

Still, Jonathan Acker-man was appointed as Head of Marketing at Pick n Pay in 2001.

While Jonathan held this position for the best part of a decade, there appears to be consensus that Pick n Pay’s marketing may have gone off the boil during this period.

Perhaps then it is no surprise that Jonathan Ackerman was elbowed sideways into a newly created position of Customer Director.

While the official press release stated that this new position “would enable even greater focus on the founding principle of Pick n Pay, being Consumer Sovereignty”, it would seem that the new Marketing Director – Bronwen Rohland - was promoted after a successful stint on the SAP systems/distribution side of Pick n Pay.

Pick n Pay CEO Nick Badminton, though, says Jonathan Ackerman has done great work during his tenure as Marketing Director.

Ackerman jnr was in charge of the Pick n Pay’s brand change, which – in truth – received mixed reviews. It was during this time that rival supermarket group Shoprite stole a march on Pick n Pay… Badminton, however, reckons the new position of Customer Director will enable the company to harness Jonathan Ackerman’s exceptional talents in customer engagement.

Jonathan is perfectly placed to continue adding to his list of achievements in this new, challenging and exciting position.”

Only time will tell if the new position leads Ackerman jnr (now in his mid forties) upward and onward…

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