Donohue was appointed acting managing director last month after former managing director Dave Chambers moved to Australia as director of Woolworths’ supermarkets division. Prior to this, Donohue was Progressive’s general manager merchandise – a role he held onto following his move up the ladder.
The company released a statement today saying Donohue was now managing director, and would lead more than 18,000 Countdown staff across 174 supermarkets throughout New Zealand. Progressive will soon start the process to appoint a new general manager merchandise.
In the statement, Donohue says he is looking forward to leading the Progressive Enterprises team.
“Retail is a dynamic business and leading our great team to serve two million customers each week is hugely exciting. I’m a retailer with 20 years experience and I’m looking forward to the challenges this new role will bring.”
Donohue joined Progressive in September 2013 from the Woolworths division, where he has worked in a variety of roles for more than 20 years. In his most recent role there, he was responsible for the buying teams that support the Woolworths Liqor Group, and prior to this he was national merchandise manager for the Dan Murphy’s brand.
Woolworths Limited CEO, Grant O’Brien, praised Donohue’s experience.
“Steve is a talented retailer with good experience in the Progressive Enterprises business,” O’Brien says. “He is customer focused and is the right person to lead Countdown. I wish him well in his new role.”
Retail NZ chief executive Mark Johnston congratulated Donohue on his appointment. He said it was significant as retail is a key part of the economy and provides employment for many Kiwis, pointing out that with 174 supermarkets and around 18,000 employees, Progressive Enterprises is the country’s largest private sector employer.
“Progressive Enterprises is one of Retail NZ’s major members and I want to congratulate Steve on his appointment. He has significant experience in retail, and I look forward to working with him.”
Donohue lives in Mt Eden, Auckland, and is married with three children.