• Stuart Machin resigns over accounting allegations
  • It is alleged that Target artificially increased profits through supplier rebate deals
  • Follows Pets at Home decision to delay former Target finance boss Graeme Jenkins’ appointment


Outgoing Target boss Stuart Machin has resigned ahead of the results into an investigation into the department store chain’s accounting practices.

It is alleged that Wesfarmers-owned Target artificially increased profits for the first half of 2015/16 through supplier rebate deals.

In an announcement to the Australian Stock Exchange on Friday, Machin said he was “dismayed to learn of the accounting issues”.

He added: “I was not aware of these but they happened on my watch and as managing director I accept my share of the responsibility. The right thing is now for me to move on.”

Machin, who joined Target from parent Wesfarmers’ stablemate Coles in April 2013, had been expected to take a senior management role at Wesfarmers after Kmart boss Guy Russo was promoted to the newly-created role of chief executive of department stores, which placed him in charge of both Kmart and Target.

Wesfarmers acquired Britain’s Homebase in February this year, making waves by axing Homebase’s management and bringing in its own top-tier management.

New Pets at Home finance boss Graeme Jenkins, Target chief financial officer since 2013, has also been hit by the allegations.

Last week Pets at Home took the decision to delay his start date following the media reports around the accounting allegations. Jenkins had been due to take up his new role last Monday, but the retailer has shelved his start date until the investigation has been completed.

Machin has been at Wesfarmers for eight years, first with Coles and then Target. He was formerly in UK grocery, where he was operations director at both Asda and Tesco. He started his career at Sainsbury’s, spending 14 years working his way up at the grocer.

The investigation’s outcome is expected soon. Wesfarmers said it had promptly investigated when concerns over accounting were raised.

The business is investigating deals with 30 overseas suppliers. As previously reported, the agreements are thought to have boosted Targets’s half-year profits by up to 25%.