Gary Hardy, Asda operations manager for south London, has been appointed general manager for western Australia at Coles – joining a team headed by several experienced British retail executives.

Hardy, whose new role is one level below the board of directors, moved to Australia seven weeks ago to work alongside MD Ian McLeod, merchandise director John Durkan, marketing director Joe Blundell and operations director Stuart Machin, who made the move to Australia last August.

Machin, who was in the UK last week on a new recruitment drive, said he was delighted with Hardy’s appointment. “He is doing fantastically well and has made a huge inroad.”

The latest round of interviews, held in London, had led to job offers being made for several store managers and regional managers, he added.

“We have offered jobs to people from three retailers – Sainsbury's, Asda and Tesco – and I am seeing some more people over the forthcoming days. The challenge in Australia is a great opportunity. If they have been in the UK all their career, it gives some people a fresh opportunity.”

Asda has appointed Steve Matthews to take over the role left by Hardy in south London. Matthews was formerly regional operations manager for Essex, and before that, a store manager.