Beginning his career in the early 1960s on the dock of Grace Bros’ newly completed Chatswood Store, Roger Corbett rose through the various ranks of management to become the company’s youngest full Director and subsequently held the positions of Merchandise Director and Stores Director. Following the takeover of Grace Bros by Myer in 1984, Roger accepted an invitation to join the Board of David Jones Australia as Director of Operations.
In 1990 Roger was appointed to the Board of Woolworths Limited and the position of Managing Director of BIG W. For the next decade, Roger’s hands-on experience and understanding of the unique Australian retail sector and changing consumer needs would define his career with Woolworths Limited.
Assuming the title of Deputy Group Managing Director of Woolworths in 1993, overseeing Rockmans and Dick Smith, Roger was appointed Managing Director - Retail in 1997, responsible for all trading divisions of Woolworths Limited including its supermarket divisions. Recognised for his contribution to the company’s continued core business success and management market dominance throughout the nineties, Roger was appointed Chief Operating Officer for Woolworths Limited and CEO-elect in 1998.
On 1 January 1999, Roger was appointed Chief Executive Officer. In his role as Chief Executive Officer and Group Managing Director of Woolworths Limited, Roger has been directly responsible for the development and implementation of some of the country’s most successful new business acquisitions and strategic alliances, including the introduction of its Caltex/Woolworths branded petrol operations.
Achievements as CEO include the restructuring and introduction of Woolworths’ new back-end cost savings solution, Project Refresh, acquisitions of Tandy Electronics, GreenGrocer.com.au, Australian Leisure Holdings, Foodland’s New Zealand assets and a number of Foodland stores in Australia, a renewed focus on core businesses and the establishing of the new Woolworths Australian Communities Foundation to support the company’s ongoing charitable work for local organisations across Australia.
Mr Corbett retired as CEO and a Director of Woolworths Limited on 30 September 2006 but will continue to work with Woolworths in a consulting capacity until 2011.
Mr Corbett is currently a director of Wal-Mart, the Reserve Bank of Australia and Fairfax Media. He became chairman of Fairfax at the company's 2009 Annual General Meeting.
Roger Corbett was educated in Sydney, completed a Bachelor of Commerce Degree at the University of New South Wales and subsequently completed the Stanford University California Management Course. He has three adult children with his wife Rosemary: Amanda, Sarah and Robert. Roger is grandfather to Georgia and Annabel, daughters of Sarah and Anthony.
Awards & honours
Mr Corbett was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the 2003 Queen's Birthday Honours, for service to the retail industry, particularly as a contributor to the development of industry policy and standards, and to the community. In 2008, he was promoted to an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for service to business, particularly through leadership and executive roles in the retail sector and a range of allied organisations, and to the community.
In January 2006 Roger was awarded International Retailer of the Year by the prestigious US MMR Magazine.
In May 2006 Roger was presented with the B’nai B’rith (Australia-New Zealand) Gold Medal.
In June 2008, Roger was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for service to business, particularly through leadership and executive roles in the retail sector and a range of allied organisations, and to the community.
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