David Jones CEO quits and leaves country over scandal

David Jones (ASX:DJS) CEO Mark McInnes has resigned in disgrace after admitting to behaving “in a manner unbecoming of the high standard expected of a CEO” to a female staff member.

McInnes said he had “inexcusably let down the female staff member, my partner, my family, all my staff, the board and our shareholders,” apologising to all involved.

He said he planned to leave the country for the foreseeable future.

McInnes has been CEO for seven years, and working at David Jones for 13. As a result of the circumstances of his departure, he will forfeit his entitlement to short term incentives for the current year, as well as any long-term incentives currently operating.

But McInnes will receive $445,500 in entitlements, and a $1.5 million settlement payment.

He would reportedly have been entitled to many times that amount if he had left under normal circumstances.

The scandal rocked David Jones' share price, sending it tumbling from its Thursday closing price of $4.510 to a low of $4.300 today. It is currently trading at $4.440.

David Jones chairman Robert Savage said the female employee in question had hired solicitors, who had made a formal complaint to the David Jones board.

“The board has taken and will continue to take steps to ensure that this complaint is properly addressed,” he said.

McInnes has been immediately replaced by Paul Zahra, effective immediately. Zahra, who will also take a seat on the board, has been part of the David Jones management team for 12 years.