Mystery executive 'dupes' top Australian retailer

Posted at 06/26/14 3:10 PM

SYDNEY - Andrew Flanagan appeared to have a glittering resume with senior roles at global retailers Tesco, Walmart and Zara's parent company Inditex when he was hired by a leading Australian firm.

But, in his first week as one of the key executives at top department store Myer, he was sacked Tuesday for allegedly falsifying his CV.

It emerged that he had never worked for Spanish clothing giant Zara, as claimed, and questions were raised over the rest of his career.

The case has caused a stir within Australia's recruitment and retail industries and raised questions about how Flanagan could have had secured a senior position without red flags being raised.

Flanagan's recruiter Quest Personnel said Thursday Myer was not the only firm interested in hiring him on the basis of his apparent past experience, with several leading retailers also interviewing him "at length".

"Some of these interviews took place at board level," Quest's managing director Lorraine Tribe said in a statement, adding that "detailed reference checks were carried out both locally and internationally".

Flanagan was believed to be an American living in south-east Melbourne, according to company registry documents seen by Fairfax Media and News Limited.

He reportedly had a young son and participated in a swimming club in the southern Australian city.

Tribe said her recruitment firm had reported Flanagan to investigators, although Victorian police said they could not confirm that.

"For his successful position, Mr Flanagan was interviewed by Quest Personnel and also by senior executives of the client on at least three occasions," she said.

"It now appears that both Quest and regrettably our clients were provided with incorrect and misleading information in relation to Mr Flanagan's employment history."

Zara told Fairfax Media that Flanagan "was not part and has never been employed by the company".

"He has not held the position of managing director and vice president for Asia Pacific," Zara added, as he claimed.

Myer announced last week that Flanagan had been hired as its group general manager for strategy and business development and would report directly to the company's chief financial officer.

The retailer, which runs one of Australia's largest department store chains, told the Herald Sun that "Flanagan's contract has been terminated" and there were "a number of investigations taking place".

Flanagan was not available for comment.

© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse