Harvey Norman's general manager of computers, John Slack-Smith, has taken on the newly created role of chief operating officer to fuel integration across the mass merchant's computer and electrical business units.
Slack-Smith, who took up the post on November 1, said department heads had previously reported directly to the managing director.
The new COO role would cover all sales operations within its various divisions, as well as operational capacities, such as leasing, property, overseas entities and security, he said.
All financial responsibilities would remain under the chief financial officer's jurisdiction.
The key to the COO posting would be to ensure there was a support base to make the most of synergies across all aspects of its business, ranging from electrical, computers and furniture through to the design and planning teams for retail, he said.
Slack-Smith was appointed GM for computers in July 1999, after signing on as a Harvey Norman franchisee in 1993. He is also a director on the company's board.
The GM's position has now been handed to former business manager for the computer division, Rutland Smith, who had held the job for 18 months. He had also formerly been a Harvey Norman franchisee, with a history at IBM and Apple.
In turn, the business manager role had been assumed by Paul English, who was formerly an electrical franchisee at the Domayne store in Alexandria, NSW.
"As an industry, we are seeing ongoing convergence of IT, electrical and AV," Slack-Smith said. "With us having two significant national businesses with electrical and computers, we are looking to have senior people consistently broadening their skill base and working in different parts of the company. Taking on the computer business is a big step for Paul and for us."