IT roles go in Coles restructure

GM of IT Conrad Harvey is leaving the supermarket chain

Coles Group is cutting IT jobs following a restructure of its store support centre in Melbourne.

The supermarket chain said on Wednesday that 378 permanent positions and 60 contractor positions in the centre are no longer required. Coles Group’s general manager of IT, Conrad Harvey confirmed he is leaving the company.

Fairfax Media, citing unnamed sources, yesterday reported that jobs would be cut across IT and other back-office functions such as payments and accounts.

The report said supermarket chain was believed to have plans to outsource its IT department, with some roles sent offshore. Coles said in a statement today that it would not be sending any jobs offshore.

There are 160 redeployment positions across the organisation and Coles said it would be working with the affected team members who may wish to move into these roles.

Coles said the changes would simplify systems and processes, allowing for a more efficient and productive organisation to support more than 2200 supermarkets, Coles Express and Liquor outlets across Australia.

Conrad Harvey was initially hired as a program director for a merchandising systems refresh project, before taking on the role of general manager of IT strategy, architecture and program delivery in 2004.

He became IT group general manager across a team of more than 700 staff following Wesfarmers’ acquisition of Coles Group in 2007. He was heavily involved in the transformation under Wesfarmers.

In an interview with Computerworld's sister publication CIO in July, Harvey said one of his biggest customer achievements over the last five years was deploying automated replenishment, which improved the availability and efficiency of Coles’ supply chain.

Coles' managing director John Durkan said the restructure would lead to a learner store support centre and enable increased investment in Coles' store network across Australia.

“To be a world class retailer, Coles needs to invest further in new stores, in renewing existing stores and in better service and value for our customers,” he said.

Coles will spend $1.1 billion on 70 stores across Australia between 2014 and 2016.

Follow Byron Connolly on Twitter:@ByronConnolly

Read more: Inside Coles' 'cloud first' policy

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