Wesfarmers' Managing Director of Data & Digital, Nicole Sheffield has been appointed as the new President of the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) Council.
The council has also made other appointments including Katie McNamara, Chief Strategy and Customer Officer at Super Retail Group, and Maria McCarthy, General Manager Corporate Affairs at Bunnings.
With the recent appointments, the ARA Council is now 60 percent female. CEO Paul Zahra shared the numbers and said, "Diversity, equality and inclusion are core issues for us at the ARA and the Council’s equal representation of women reflects the strong commitment we have in this space and to delivering better outcomes in the retail industry more broadly.”
Around 34 percent of ASX 200 board roles are filled by women, and while there’s a long way to go to ensure equal representation in that regard, the ARA takes a step in a positive direction.
Speaking on the new appointments Paul said, “The new ARA Council represents retailers of all shapes and sizes with vast networks across the country. These roles reflect the commitment of the individuals, and the retail organisations behind them, to making a community contribution, with the Council members serving on a pro bono basis. We are grateful for their expertise and support in driving an ambitious vision for our sector."
As Nicole takes on the role of the council's President, she emphasises on the need for retailers to have an omnichannel strategy.
She said, “This is a pivotal time for the retail industry with Covid continuing to impact so many businesses in terms of supply chain constraints and staff shortages. We need to ensure retailers are well placed to navigate the pandemic pain and economic headwinds so they can capitalise on Australia’s post-Covid recovery."
Technology and innovation will play a key role. Nicole will focus on working with the retailers in the region towards more digitisation and helping them harness the power of data and digital.