Retail NZ general manager public affairs Greg Harford said Johnston had been approached by Whitireia, describing the new position as “fantastic”.
The board has appointed general manager commercial Scott Fisher as interim chief executive in Johnston’s place. Fisher is expected to remain in place for at least six months.
Other than that, Harford says, it will be “business as usual” at Retail NZ.
Johnston joined Retail NZ in February 2014. He has presided over a period of significant change – Retail NZ has undergone a widespread rebrand.
Prior to his work with Retail NZ, Johnston worked with Plunket.