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Scentre Group appoints retail heavyweight Guy Russo to the Board

Scentre Group, owner and operator of the Westfield living centre portfolio in Australia and New Zealand, today announced the appointment of Guy Russo to the Board, effective 1 September 2020. Russo will be an independent non-executive Director.

Russo is most well-known for leading the corporate turn-around of Kmart Australia creating the largest and most profitable retail department store in the country.

Scentre Group’s Chairman, Brian Schwartz AM, said: “We are delighted to welcome Guy to the Board. Guy will add significant skills and experience to the Board as a business leader who understands the customer, retail and retail property.

“As part of its ongoing renewal and succession planning, the Board is committed to ensuring a strong and diverse membership. Guy has a highly accomplished career and we welcome him as a valuable addition to the Board.”

Guy Russo is Chairman of Australian-owned, Guzman Y Gomez and Chairman of OneSky, an international charity for children living in poverty in Asia.

In a corporate career spanning 42 years he has served as CEO, Wesfarmers Department Store Division (Kmart & Target); Managing Director, Kmart Australia & NZ; President, McDonald’s Greater China; CEO, McDonald’s Australia Ltd and Chairman of Ronald McDonald House Children’s Charities.

A member of YPO since 2006, now with Lestari, the first Impact Chapter of YPO, he has consulted to business in China and Asia, served as a member on the Business Council of Australia, and won industry awards for leadership in diversity in employment.

In April 2020, Scentre Group announced that, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, temporary arrangements to reduce base Board fees and fixed remuneration for the executive team (including the Senior Leadership Team). These arrangements commenced from 1 May 2020 and, as announced, would be reviewed by the Board in August 2020.

The Board has reviewed these arrangements and has determined that Board fees and fixed remuneration for the executive team will revert to their previous levels, effective from 1 August 2020.

Scentre Group is due to release its results for the six-month period ended 30 June 2020 on 25 August 2020.

By way of update ahead of the results release, The Group expects to report that net Operating Cashflow (after Interest, Overheads and Tax) will be in excess of $250 million for the half year. This is a preliminary estimate and remains subject to external audit review and Board review and approval. The Group has not received any funds from the Australian Government under its JobKeeper scheme.

The results will include valuations of the Group’s property portfolio as at 30 June 2020. Scentre Group expects the carrying value of the property portfolio, at 30 June 2020, will reduce by approximately 10% from the carrying value at 31 December 2019. This is principally due to the estimated impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The change in carrying value is a non-cash item and is not included in the Group’s Operating Earnings or Funds from Operations (FFO).

The draft valuations are preliminary and remain subject to finalisation, external auditor review and the Board’s approval.

Scentre Group maintains available liquidity of $4.4 billion at 30 June 2020.

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