Why Jennifer Hawkins really left Myer
IT WAS the stunning exit from one of Australia's leading retailers that left Australians scratching their heads.
Ahead of their annual Spring/Summer show in August, the Myer rumour mill was in overdrive. Their face, Jennifer Hawkins, said to be leaving after 12 years with the brand.
But with just days to go before their launch, speculation was put to rest. The former Miss Universe would be walking for the brand one last time.
In a post to Instagram, Hawkins confirmed it was time for her to take a step back from the Australian retailer.
"It's now been an extraordinary relationship of 12 years! I've always been very proud and extremely grateful to work with such a beautiful and iconic company," she wrote.
"But after 12 years it's time to move onto a new chapter in my life. I'll be finishing up my role with Myer this November but I would like to take this moment to thank everyone at Myer - the staff, the amazing designers, the suppliers and everyone else for working alongside me over those 12 years."
Ms Hawkins, who is also the face for Colgate Optic White, tanning range JBronze, swimwear label Cozi and Tequila range, Sesión, told news.com.au that the departure wasn't an easy call to make.
"It wasn't a flippant decision," she told news.com.au from the Colgate White Stakes Day at Sydney's Randwick Racecourse.
"They will hold a special place in my heart but it's been 12 years and it felt time for me with a lot of exciting things coming up for business.
"It was the right time and there was no second guessing.
"12 years is a long time and there was nothing more for me to do at Myer. I had done amazing things, and have amazing memories to look back on.
"There's a lot going on and you need to be able to give 100% to those businesses so my life and my personal life comes in to it all.
"Now it's time to evolve and transition and do different things."
Hawkins said her final fling with the retailer will be Melbourne Cup, which will be "emotional".
"Melbourne Cup I will be a bit emotional," she said.
"I had a really positive and really strong relationship with Myer, but it just felt right [to leave].
At the time of her departure, reports suggested the 34-year-old would be replaced by reality star Elyse Knowles, 25, who would do the same job "at a fraction of the price".
Hawkins, who was who was reportedly on a $1.3 million contract with Myer, said her departure had nothing to do with contract negotiations, and that she fully supports those that follow her in her footsteps.
"Myer have had ambassadors come in every year and it's been lovely to work with each of them," she said.
"I wish all the ambassadors the very best because I work with them all a lot over the years and they make things in and interesting and new."
Speaking to news.com.au from the Colgate Optic White Stakes Day at Sydney's Randwick Racecourse, which had a guestlist including Sam Frost, Alli Simpson and Tegan Martin, Hawkins revealed how moving on from Myer will now open her up to more opportunities with other brands including her own portfolio of businesses.
"I got pitched certain brands all the time, but Colgate I have used forever and they are such an iconic brand so it was a no-brainer," she said.
"I smile often so it's a good partnership."
Hawkins led the star-studded fashion pack to watch Winx step on to the turf again for her 27th win in a row. Winx has won this race for two years running, with her latest feat adding to her amazing tally of 19 consecutive wins at Group 1 level.
"I had a photo with him way back when he was coming up and then all of a sudden he's famous so I will definitely be putting some money on," she laughed.
Recently installed Myer chief executive John King, who replaced Richard Umbers after he was ousted in February following a series of profit downgrades, said the profit loss was "disappointing" and "clearly this needs to be better".
Since starting in June, Mr King has cut executive and senior management roles to reduce costs but said on Wednesday, front-of-store staff won't face job cuts.