leadership team

Coles Group has a highly experienced leadership team with broad global experience across the retail sector.

Executive leadership team

Steven Cain

Steven Cain

Chief Executive Officer

Steven has over 20 years of experience in Australian and international retail.

Steven was previously Chief Executive Officer of supermarkets and convenience at Metcash Limited. He was also Chief Executive of Carlton Communications plc, an FTSE 100 media group company, and Operating Director and portfolio company chairman at Pacific Equity Partners, a private equity firm. He was also Group Marketing Director, Store Development Director and Grocery Trading Director of Asda (UK) during its turnaround and has held roles at Kingfisher plc, a UK retail group, and Bain & Company.

Steven was previously the Managing Director of food, liquor and fuel at Coles Myer and was an advisor to Wesfarmers on its takeover of the Coles Group in 2007.

Steven holds a Master of Engineering (First Class) from the Imperial College London, attended Retail, Supply Chain & Strategy programs at Harvard Business School, and Digital Transformation & Innovative Program at INSEAD.

Charlie (Sharbel Raymond) Elias

Charlie (Sharbel Raymond) Elias

Chief Financial & Property Officer

Charlie is a global finance leader with extensive finance and executive experience over 30 years. Charlie has a demonstrated track record of success as a global CFO and Executive in large scale and complex organisations.

Charlie is responsible for finance, treasury, strategy, business development, investor relations, insurance and property.

Prior to joining Coles, Charlie was the CEO of BlueScope Building Products Asia and North America. Previous roles have included CFO of BlueScope Limited, CFO and Executive Director of Linfox Group and CFO, Director and General Manager Strategy & Business Development for TXU Australia.

Charlie began his career with Deloitte, holds a Bachelor of Arts in Accountancy (with distinction) and is a member of both the Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Leah Weckert

Leah Weckert

Chief Executive, Commercial & Express

Leah has more than 20 years of finance, commercial and strategy experience, including a number of senior roles across Coles in merchandise, operations, human resources and strategy.

Leah was appointed Chief Financial Officer in March 2018 and is responsible for finance, insurance, strategy, business development and investor relations. Her previous roles at Coles include Director Strategy, Chief People Officer, State General Manager Victoria and General Manager Merchandise, Strategy and Innovation.

Prior to joining Coles, Leah was an Associate Principal at McKinsey & Company, advising large private and public sector clients. She previously led global strategy and M&A projects at Fosters in her role in Strategy and Business Development.

Leah's qualifications include a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School, a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) and a Bachelor of Science from Adelaide University.

Matthew Swindells

Matthew Swindells

Chief Operations & Sustainability Officer

With more than 25 years’ experience, Matthew has an extensive knowledge of the retail sector.

Matthew first commenced his career with Coles in 2004, and has held various senior management positions across supply chain and merchandise, including General Manager Supply Chain and General Manager Meat, Deli and Seafood.

Matthew then served as the CEO of Tasman Meats, a large format private equity owned meat retailer, before returning to Coles in July 2017. Matthew’s accountabilities encompass the end-to-end management of Store Operations, Supply Chain and Procurement as well as leading the business on the automation strategy with Witron and Ocado.

Lisa Ronson

Lisa Ronson

Chief Marketing Officer

Lisa is an award-winning marketing executive with over 20 years of experience across multiple Australian and international brands. She has a track record of building strong consumer brands, leading high-performing teams and growing retail sales and market share.

As Chief Marketing Officer, Lisa is responsible for managing Coles’ marketing, brand and media strategies, as well as customer insights and analytics.

Lisa was recently recognised as the number one Chief Marketing Officer in Australia, winning both the 2018 AMI Special Award from the Australian Marketing Institute and also being named as the No. 1 CMO in the 2018 CMO50 Awards from CMO Magazine Australia.

Prior to joining Coles, Lisa worked across a number of brands and sectors, businesses and geographies, including at Visa, Telstra, David Jones, Carlton & United Breweries, Westpac and Tourism Australia.

Lisa holds a Graduate Diploma in Management with Honors in Marketing from the Macquarie School of Management (MGSM) and bachelor’s degree in Commerce from the University of Western Sydney. Lisa is also studying an MBA at MGSM.

Kris Webb

Kris Webb

Chief People Officer

Kris Webb has over 30 years of international experience across the full suite of human resources functions. She has led significant P&C teams with remits across Australia and globally, including working in Europe, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Japan and Asia, in a range of industries.

Prior to joining Coles, Kris spent 11 years with GlaxoSmithKline in Australia, Singapore and the UK, most recently as Senior Vice President HR, with responsibilities across the global pharmaceuticals business.

Kris was previously National Human Resources Director for the Australian law firm Clayton Utz, HR Director – Asia Pacific for PriceWaterhouseCoopers Financial Advisory Services and earlier in her career, spent 10 years with BP Australia in a range of business roles.

Kris holds a Bachelor of Business from RMIT.

John Cox

John Cox

Chief Technology Officer

John has more than 20 years’ experience in a career that has covered the breadth of financial services (banking, payments, insurance, wealth, and markets) retail, government services and logistics.

Prior to joining Coles, John spent five years at Australia Post, as CIO and EGM for Transformation and Enablement with accountability for Strategy, Technology, Communications, Government Relations, Data Science and Transformation office. He spent eight years at NAB in a variety of roles, concluding as CIO for Banking and Markets. He started his career in Management Consulting at Accenture working on large scale business transformations in Europe and Asia. John focuses on culture to make sustainable change and innovating to create customer value. 

Born in Australia, John has lived and worked in Australia, Germany, Scotland, and England and has managed teams across the globe. He is passionate about learning and the potential of education to change lives.

David Brewster

David Brewster

Chief Legal Officer

David's extensive legal career includes a long-standing role as partner at Allens Linklaters, where he gained extensive knowledge across competition and regulatory law with a focus on merger clearances, regulatory investigations and major litigation. During this time, David worked closely with the Coles team in relation to regulatory inquiries into supplier negotiations and Own Brand products.

David joined Coles in early 2016 and leads the legal, risk, regulatory compliance, employee relations and safety teams. He helped establish and is a member of the Coles Risk, Audit and Compliance Management Committee, as well as an executive member of the Coles Better Together diversity committee responsible for LGBTI matters.

David's qualifications include a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws (Hons 1) from the Australian National University and a Master of Laws from Queensland University of Technology.

Darren Blackhurst

Darren Blackhurst

Chief Executive Liquor

Darren has more than 25 years’ experience in international retailing and an impressive background delivering results, driving change and leading highly-engaged teams. He knows the Liquor space intimately, having managed it at Morrisons, ASDA and Tesco.

He has most recently been Group Commercial Director of Morrison’s in the UK since 2015. Prior to this he was Commercial Director of UK home improvement company Kingfisher, CEO of homeware and fashion retailer Matalan, and Group Trading Director for ASDA/Walmart. He spent the first 18 years of his career with Tesco, starting as a buyer and advancing to the role of Commercial Director.

Darren’s qualifications include BA (Hons) in Business from Greenwich University and Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Daniella Pereira

Daniella Pereira

Company Secretary

Daniella has an extensive career in legal, governance and company secretariat, including a 14-year career with ASX-listed industrial chemicals company, Incitec Pivot. This included five years as Company Secretary and, prior to that, as General Manager of Corporate Governance and Compliance. Daniella began her career as a lawyer with Ashurst (formerly Blake Dawson) advising on major corporate transactions.

As Company Secretary, Daniella is responsible for setting the program and agenda for the Coles Group Board and committees, including the Coles Annual General Meeting, overseeing Coles' communications with shareholders and ensuring that Coles operates in accordance with the Corporations Act and the ASX Listing Rules.

Daniella holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and Bachelor of Arts from Murdoch University.

George Saoud

George Saoud

Chief Executive Officer of Emerging Businesses

George has more than 25 years’ experience across property, retail and commercial industries, with a demonstrated history of achieving results and enhancing performance.

As Chief Executive Officer of Emerging Businesses, George oversees the integration, development and strategic growth of new businesses within the Coles Group, as well as Coles Financial Services, ensuring our lifestyle services and payments provide exceptional value and service to Coles customers. 

Prior to commencing with Coles Group, George was Chief Commercial/Financial Officer for Supermarkets and Convenience at Metcash/IGA for four years and was Chief Financial Officer at Fantastic Holdings for four years. He has been Chief Financial Officer at Delfin Lend Lease and began his career at Arthur Andersen.

George has completed an Advanced Management Program at INSEAD, has a Master of Finance, and is both a Chartered Secretary and a Chartered Accountant.

Ben Hassing

Ben Hassing

Chief Executive, Ecommerce

Ben has nearly 20 years of retail management experience. He was appointed Chief Executive of Ecommerce at Coles in May of 2020 moving to Australia from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Prior to joining Coles, Ben was Senior Vice President at Walmart with leadership roles in Ecommerce, Technology, Store Operations, Strategy, Merchandising, and Finance. He worked in Walmart’s US, China, and International business units.

Ben holds an MBA for the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and a BA from Temple University.

Sally Fielke

Sally Fielke

General Manager Corporate & Indigenous Affairs

Sally has almost 20 years’ experience in CEO and senior management roles.

Prior to commencing at Coles, Sally was General Manager Corporate Affairs for Sydney Airport for almost eight years. 

Sally was previously the CEO of Australian Hotels Association, New South Wales branch, the Australian Hotels Association, Northern Territory branch and is a former lawyer. 

Sally holds a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts. She is a member of Chief Executive Women and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.