Woolworths Food CEO sells R19 million in shares

Woolworths Food CEO Zyda Rylands sold shares worth over R19 million on Friday, 17 May 2024.

In a SENS announcement released on Monday morning, Woolworths announced that Rylands, who will step down as Woolworths Food CEO in August, sold a significant number of shares last week.

Rylands, on behalf of the Zyda Rylands Family Trust, sold 300,000 at a volume-weighted average sale price of R62.50 cents per share for a total value of R18.75 million.

Rylands will step down from her position as CEO later this year after around three years in the role and 29 years at the company.

Earlier this year, Woolworths announced today that Rylands will retire at the end of August 2024.

She has been Woolworths Food CEO since September 2021 and Woolworths South Africa CEO for over eight years prior.

She attained a BCom degree at the University of Cape Town and an Honours degree at the University of the Western Cape.

Rylands qualified as a chartered accountant in 1993 and attended the London Business School in 2005. She has also attended an Advanced Management Programme at Harvard Business School.

She joined Caltex Oil (SA) as a financial analyst before being promoted to treasury administration manager.  

Woolworths recruited her in 1995 as an audit manager, and after 18 months, she was appointed EA to the Woolworths MD.

She worked her way up in the company and, in 2007, became its chief operating officer.

In 2017, Rylands was awarded the World Retail Award for Woman of the Year by the World Retail Congress. 

She is also a recipient of the Impumelelo/BMF Top Ten Black Business Personalities Award and was named South Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government in the Consumer Business, Wholesale and Retail Sector in 2012 by CEO Magazine.

“The board extends its appreciation to Zyda for her contribution and commitment to the Woolworths Group over the past 29 years and for the significant role she has played in growing and positioning Woolworths Foods as an industry-leading food retailer,” Woolworths said.

The company also announced today that, as part of a planned succession process, Woolworths COO Sam Ngumeni will be taking over from Rylands as CEO of Woolworths Foods effective 1 July 2024. 

“Sam is a highly regarded executive with a successful track record across multiple senior roles in the group over the past 28 years,” Woolworths said. 

“The board congratulates Sam on his appointment and looks forward to the contribution he will make to the Foods business.”