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Experienced retail boss Michael Dykes has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer of remote store operator Community Enterprise Queensland (CEQ).

The former Coles and Woolworths Group executive joins CEQ from Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation (ALPA), where he was Retail General Manager for the past five years. ALPA are the largest Indigenous owned business in Australia.

CEQ Board Member Mislam Sam said the appointment of Mr Dykes followed an extensive recruitment process and reflects the Board’s commitment to strengthen and grow CEQ.

“This is a key appointment for the organisation, and we’re thrilled that someone of Mr Dykes’ calibre has stepped into the CEO role,” Mr Sam said.

“Michael provides a wealth of experience and expertise, particularly in managing remote retail organisations at an executive level.

“His focus on health outcomes while at ALPA were of particular interest to the Board, and we’re delighted to have him lead CEQ into a new era.”

Mr Dykes, who has more than 35 years of retail industry experience, said he was delighted to relocate to Cairns to lead the not-for-profit organisation.

“I’m excited to be taking this role and heading up the great team at CEQ,” he said.

“I’m confident the experience I have gained from serving some of Australia’s most remote communities in the Northern Territory will be of benefit to CEQ, and most importantly, our customers and the communities across the region.

“It’s not just about putting products on the shelf to maximise sales. There’s a responsibility here that’s over and above profit.

“CEQ is about communities, and creating jobs and sustainable enterprise.

“We have a role to play in supporting the health and wellbeing of our team members and customers – that’s what is exciting about this opportunity and why I wanted to do it.”

Mr Dykes aims to continue to develop CEQ’s valued team, and prioritise innovations in remote stores to match customers wants and needs.

“I want to position CEQ as a forward-thinking, innovative organisation, preparing itself for the future,” he said.

“I have a passion for setting strategy, rallying the team, and driving a retail culture where every team member will think like the customer,” he said.

“CEQ has done an excellent job in continuing to provide essential services to many remote communities over a long period of time.

“I’m looking forward to implementing new partnerships and innovations that will set CEQ up for long-term success, working with and building on the great work of the existing team.

“I’m delighted to be on board to help lead the business into the next phase of growth.”

CEQ is a not-for-profit organisation responsible for providing goods and essential services to the Torres Strait, Northern Peninsula Area (NPA), mainland Aboriginal remote communities, and Palm Island through its 28 stores.

CEQ’s Store Support Office is based in Cairns, and manages Islanders Board of Industry and Service (IBIS) and Aboriginal Business, Industry and Service (ABIS) mainland stores, as well as other stores including Col Jones and Mitre 10 on Thursday Island.