Claire Peters

After an extensive search that spanned nearly one year, UK-born Tesco executive Claire Peters has been appointed as Woolworths Supermarkets’ new managing director, taking over from current Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci, who has held onto the position of managing director of supermarkets since his appointment as chief executive in February 2016.

Currently working as chief operations officer at Tesco Thailand, Peters will join the Australian retail group in July, in a bid to reverse declining sales and restore profit growth. She will also be the first woman to run an Australian national supermarket chain.

“Claire has a proven track record in working with teams to deliver against key strategic objectives, and she is the right person to work with our team to continue the good progress we have already made,” said Banducci, adding that the strategy for Woolworths’ transformation is now ‘clearly defined’.

Following the move, Banducci will be able to focus on the group’s strategy, but some investors called it "a lightweight appointment" and fear that, despite her 20 years' experience in retail, Peters does not possess enough local market knowledge to overcome fierce rivals like Aldi and Coles.