Graham O’Connor, chief executive officer of Spar South Africa has been elected president of Spar International, the world’s largest voluntary food retail chain with global retail sales of €33bn in 2015. He will succeed Leo Crawford, chairman of Spar Ireland, who had held the role since 2005.
The announcement was made at the 61st International Spar Congress which took place in Bergen, Norway, last week. The annual Congress was attended by over 290 delegates from 38 countries and four continents.
O’Connor comes to the role of president of Spar International with exceptional retail experience, having worked with Spar South Africa at both a retail and wholesale level. O’Connor has been CEO of Spar South Africa since January 2014, having previously served as the divisional managing director of Spar South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal Region.
Spar South Africa Group’s total retail footprint now comprises more than 1,440 Spar stores across South Africa, Ireland and Switzerland, with retail sales exceeding 6.7 billion euro. In Southern Africa, the group has a presence in 6 countries with over 880 Spar stores. In 2014, Spar South Africa took a majority stake in BWG Group, owners and operators of SPAR Ireland and on 1 April 2016, Spar South Africa acquired 60% of the shareholding of Spar Switzerland AG from the existing shareholders, Leuthold & Co Ag and ASPIAG (Austria SPAR International AG).
Speaking about his selection O’Connor said: “To be elected as President of SPAR International is a great honour. I look forward to working with the Board and our Partners from all over the world to continue to grow and develop the organisation. I would also like to formally thank Leo Crawford for all his hard work and dedication to the role throughout his outstanding tenure as president.”
Chairman of Spar Ireland, Crawford was appointed to the Spar International Board in 2001 and was elected president of Spar international in 2005. During his tenure as president Spar underwent exceptional international growth, growing it’s presence to its current scale of over 12,100 stores in 42 countries worldwide.
Speaking about his time as president, Crawford said: “As the sixth president in the history of this great organisation, I have been honoured to have served for 11 years as chairman of the Board. I am delighted that Graham O’Connor has accepted the invitation to become the seventh president of Spar International. I wish Graham all the very best and I am confident that SPAR will grow from strength to strength under his dynamic leadership.”