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Bob Every, Chairman, Wesfarmers Limited, Thursday 23 May 2010

Wesfarmers acquired Coles Group Limited for $19 billion in a cash and scrip deal in November 2007, making the Western Australian-based conglomerate Australia's biggest private-sector employer.

From day one of the acquisition, Wesfarmers has consistently said it was a growth initiative that involves a five-year turnaround to drive shareholder value over the longer term. 

In this engaging luncheon address, Bob Every, who joined the board of Wesfarmers Limited in February 2006 and was appointed Chairman in 2008, discussed the acquisition of Coles and provided participants with a rare insight into what he sees are the key aspects of Wesfarmers’ operating style and performance culture, and how these factors are driving the success of the Coles business.

Bob also gave an overview of some of the challenges that have been faced, including the global financial crisis (which occurred shortly after the acquisition was finalised in November 2007), and touched on the role that company boards have played through this difficult time.

Bob Every became Chairman of Boral Limited in May 2010, at which time he stepped downfrom his position as Chairman of Iluka Resources Limited. In his career which spans more than 35 years, Bob has held a variety of senior positions including Managing Director of Tubemakers of Australia Limited, President of BHP Steel and Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of OneSteel Limited.

A metallurgist by profession, Bob was awarded a Centenary Medal of service to Australian society in Metallurgy in 2000.

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