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David Jones boss Paul Zahra resigns after Woolworths SA takeover

David Jones chief executive Paul Zahra has resigned from the retailer following its $2.2 billion takeover by Woolworths South Africa, with the new owners of Australia's oldest department store pushing through a raft of management changes this morning as it takes control of the business.

Woolworths said this morning that Mr Zahra would step down immediately saying it was the best time for the CEO to depart as part of a change of management leadership.

Mr Zahra was shoved into the CEO role at the upmarket store four years ago following the shock sacking of former David Jones boss Mark McInnes.

Woolworths said this morning in a statement that Iain Nairn would be the new boss of David Jones. Mr Nairn was the former CEO of Country Road which was also swallowed up by Woolworths last month as part of its takeover of David Jones.

David Thomas, also from Country Road, will move across to be the new chief operating officer of David Jones, while Witchery (owned by Woolworths) former boss Matt Keogh will become the new CEO of Country Road. 

The new management structure comes as Woolworths, which is based in South Africa, begins to set about transforming the upmarket department store after its $2.2 billion takeover bid for the group.

Its plans include selling more private label fashion in the stores, introudcing a loyalty program and other operational changes to squeeze out more than $130 million in extra profits over the next few years.

Last year Mr Zahra said he would resign, citing tiredness, but was lobbied to bin his resignation plans after the departure of two directors and the chairman.

More to come