Following the recent worker exploitation scandal at 7-Eleven, the company’s chairman and chief executive have both announced their resignation.
“Mr Wilmot offered his resignation following the recent realisation of the extent to which 7-Eleven franchisees had underpaid workers,” a company statement said.
“Mr Wilmot acknowledged it would be difficult for him to play a central role in navigating the company through the current challenges it faces given his long-standing executive role and that a new independent CEO was appropriate in the current circumstances.”
Michael Smith, the former chairman of iiNet, will step in as the new 7-Eleven chairman while Bob Daily has been appointed as interim chief executive.
“Mr Smith will lead an executive search process to identify a permanent candidate for the CEO role,” the statement said.
These resignations come after a joint Fairfax Media/Four Corners investigation which revealed that 7-Eleven was paying its workers about half the minimum wage. Many of these were foreign employees who were forced to work in contravention of their visa conditions.
In a Senate hearing last week, Withers condemned this behaviour.
“I want to stress that this has been highly embarrassing and I apologise unreservedly to any worker that has worked in a 7-Eleven store who has not been paid correctly.”
Despite the resignation, Withers will remain as chairman of the group holding company that has investments in 7-Eleven, Starbucks and a number of real estate and share portfolios.
“Naturally this is a major decision for me to stand aside, however I will continue to be a shareholder and I am determined to make sure the company is in the right hands to move forward,” he said in a written statement.