Troubled U.K. retailer Woolworths has appointed former Punch Taverns executive Robert McDonald to the position of group chief financial officer.

Effective Nov. 3, he will be replacing Stephen East, who will stay with the company during the transitional period.

The appointment comes just over a month after the retail, entertainment wholesale and publishing group reported a substantial loss of £99.7 million ($161.6 million) for the six months leading up to Aug. 2 (Billboard.biz, Sept. 17).

McDonald was previously group finance director at Punch Taverns.

"Robert's appointment is very important for the Group, and I am delighted to welcome him to the team," said Woolworths chief executive Steve Johnson in a statement. "He has great experience in finance, strategy and operational business development and is an experienced FTSE 100 CFO. His experience will be invaluable in driving through the operational changes within Woolworths and in helping the Group move to the next stage of its development."

There have also been reports today of other execs leaving the company, including property director Colin Carter, corporate finance director David Roberts and director of business development James Collins. This has not been confirmed or denied by the retail giant.

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