Former DJs boss Mark McInnes – who quit in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal last year – has copped a lot of flak over the past twelve months. But he's still up for a fight with those who dare to question his business acumen.
The Australian Financial Review's Tony Boyd last week claimed that McInnes' business strategy had "led to a blowout in inventory, a decline in profit and the implementation of the largest cost-cutting campaign seen at David Jones for years".
The feisty CEO, now in charge of retail at Solomon Lew's Premier Investments, fired back in a lengthy letter to the editor published today.
"For the record: I have not been CEO since June 2010," McInnes writes. "Nor have I participated in any decisions the company has made since that date, at either a strategy or (far more importantly) at an execution level."
"When I left, David Jones had the highest earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) margin of any publicly listed department store in the world. On any financial measure David Jones was a much stronger company in June 2010 than when I became CEO in 2003."
McInnes, who took charge of Premier's retail division in March, was labelled a "whinger" last week for partially blaming the company's 50% fall in net profits on the Gillard government.
"We need the government to own up to the problems they have created in the lack of confidence in the consumer environment," McInnes said last week, just as his Just Group reported a 50% fall in full-year profits.
"People have actually got the money, employment is good, the savings rate is high but there is a fear and a lack of confidence out there and, for discretionary retailers, that's a real issue."