The ARA Council is the governing board of the Australian Retailers Association, comprising representatives from small, medium and large Australian retail businesses.

Rowan Hodge

ARA President


Andersens Floor Coverings

Rowan is a retail leader with 25 years of leadership experience in the franchise sector. Until 2018, Rowan was the CEO at Battery World Australia. Previously, Rowan was a Retail Manager for Westfield, CEO for Domino’s Pizza Belgium and various other leadership roles. He has great passion for trends in retailing and franchise governance.

Steve Plarre

ARA Secretary

Owner, Managing Director

Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses

Steve is the CEO of the century old Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses retail baker chain and a member of the ARA Council for around 6 years. Steve is a 4th generation Aussie retailer in a business that has navigated two World Wars, The Great Depression and his own multi-generational family challenges. Steve is very passionate about the retail industry.

Ralph Edwards

ARA Coucillor

Owner, Managing Director

Bright Eyes Sunglasses

Ralph has an extensive 30 years of experience as an owner/operator of varied and successful small to medium-sized businesses centred around retail, franchising, property leasing, wholesale, marketing, distribution, design and import. Over the last 16 years, Ralph has occupied long term positions with the Franchise Council of Australia  and the QLD Small Business Advisory Council.

Sharon Beaumont

ARA Coucillor

GM of People and Communication 7-Eleven

Sharon has more than 20 years’ experience in leadership and human resources roles across the retail, finance, health and franchising industries. Her roles have seen her contribute to organisations such as Grill’d, Australian Unity, Coles Myer and currently with 7-Eleven Australia. Sharon brings her skills as a human-focused strategy leadership expert to the ARA board.

Jane McNally

ARA Councillor



Jane has over 30 years’ experience in international retail including major UK fashion businesses Primark, Alexon, Peacocks & Dorothy Perkins. Jane has been a Board Member for 18 years and has been a highly successful CEO for the past 11 years, across a range of private capital, listed, and founder-owned businesses.  

Greg Leslie

ARA Councillor

Franchise owner Battery World

Greg, a former electrician, took the Townsville Battery World business from a lagging store in 2005 to the consistently no.1 ranked store in Australia. Greg is from the real world of small business - starting his first company at 24 with not much more than a van he borrowed from his best mate. Greg has also produced a successful manual for small business based on his success. 

Nicole Sheffield

ARA Coucillor

Executive General Manager, Community & Consumer AusPost

Nicole joined Australia Post in August 2018. She is a highly accomplished senior executive with extensive experience in the media, marketing and digital industries. She is also responsible for brand, marketing, community and corporate responsibility. Nicole is a Director of Chief Executive Women (CEW), a Non-Executive Director of Capitol Health (ASX:CAJ) since December 2015.

Steven Younane

ARA Councillor

CEO/Co-founder Retail Prodigy Group (Nike Retail)

Steve is the Co-Founder and CEO of Retail Prodigy Group which holds the master retail franchise for NIKE stores across Australia and NZ with the distribution rights for TOMS and Timbuk2. Steve joined NIKE Australia as Retail Director and then to NIKE’s HQ to head up the retail division for North America. Steve’s has also held leadership roles at Jeanswest, Myer and Luxottica. 

Drew Meads

ARA Councillor

Franchise owner, chairman

Forty Winks Group

Drew is the Chairman of the Forty Winks Group and has operated a Forty Winks franchise for the past 15 years. Drew has an intimate knowledge of franchising and is a skilled director with extensive experience in governance, strategy and risk mitigation. Drew also has experience in the hotel and resort industry with several multinational brands.

Jack Gance

ARA Councillor

Owner, chairman Chemist Warehouse

Jack is the Chairman of the Chemist Warehouse Group and a Co-founder of this $5 billion retail group. Jack has a wealth of experience in retail having been involved in the growth of the business since 1972. Additionally, Jack created the largest distribution business in Pharmacy and created the iconic brands Le Specs, Le Tan, Australis and Colours of Australis.

Charlie Davey

ARA Councillor

Head of Category Management

Leading Edge 

Charlie is General Manager of Retail at the Leading Edge Group - a buying and marketing group supporting over 900 independent retailers across Australia. Charlie has enjoyed retail leadership roles in the UK and Australia including Sainsbury Supermarkets, Dixon Store Group, WH Smith, Woolworths/BigW, Optus and Camerahouse.