Wesfarmers stands by next Coles chief

 In Australia, Coles, NewZealand
Wesfarmers was refusing to comment late Monday on the future of the incoming boss of its Coles supermarket chain, John Durkan, despite the executive named in court documents as playing a key role in squeezing suppliers for money and using commercial threats.
The Perth-based conglomerate, which bought Coles in 2007, seems to be standing by Mr Durkan and some of the most senior executives in the supermarket group as it faces fines of up to $200 million stemming from unprecedented court action taken by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission yesterday flowing from years of investigations into it and Woolworths over the way they treat grocery suppliers.
In a blistering 57-page statement of claim lodged with the Federal Court, Mr Durkan is placed at the centre of an ”orchestrated and organised” campaign to pump up Coles pre-tax earnings by as much as $30 million by demanding payments from so-called tier 3 suppliers as a rebate for the supermarket group improving its supply chain.
ACCC chairman Rod Sims said the extent of the demands and alleged unconscionable conduct by Coles even surprised him.  Sydney Morning Herald – Read more…

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