• Pets at Home postpones Graham Jenkins’ start date
  • Jenkins’ former employer Target is investigating supplier rebate arrangements
  • Pets at Home plans to confirm Jenkins’ start date “once the investigation is concluded”

Pets at Home has postponed the appointment of Graeme Jenkins as finance boss after his former employer Target was embroiled in an investigation.

Pets at Home took the decision following media reports that a probe had been launched into supplier payments at Target Australia, where Jenkins served as chief financial officer since 2013.

Jenkins had been due to take up his new role at Pets at Home on Monday, but the retailer has shelved his start date until the investigation has been completed.

Pets at Home said: “It is the board’s intention that Graeme’s joining date will only be finalised once the investigation is concluded or further information becomes available.”

Jenkins had been drafted in to succeed Ian Kellett, who steps up to become chief executive on Monday.

According to reports in Australia, Target boosted its first-half profits by 20.7% through supplier rebate arrangements with foreign suppliers.

The results marked the retailer’s best half-yearly profit performance for three years.

But reports suggested that without the deals, Target’s earnings before interest and tax would have slumped about 15%, rather than rising 5.7%.

Target’s parent company Wesfarmers, which acquired DIY chain Homebase from Home Retail Group earlier this year, ordered an investigtaion after its chief financial officer Terry Bowen became aware of the rebates.

The investigation is being led by Target’s new chief financial officer, Mark Scatena.

A spokesman for Pets at Home told Retail Week that he did not know how long the investigation is likely to take. He insisted it would be “business as usual” for the retailer in the meantime.

The spokesman said no one would be taking on the chief financial officer role on an interim basis and added: “There’s already a strong finance team in place to manage the year in progress.”

Pets at Home will unveil its fourth quarter trading update on April 21.