Woolworths Group chief executive Brad Banducci walks away with staggering pay package despite repeated PR disasters 

Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci will walk away with a staggering payout after retiring from the top job.    

He announced on Wednesday he would retire early from the role, days after a trainwreck interview with ABC Australia's Four Corners. In the interview, Banducci was questioned about alleged price gouging.    

Woolworths denied the resignation was related to the ABC interview.   

It wasn't the first time Banducci came under fire. Woolworths sparked controversy last month when the company announced it would stop selling Australian merchandise ahead of its contentious national holiday.

Now, a report by The Australian estimates the supermarket boss will take home shares that could be worth a combined AU$24.4 million.   

The sum is in addition to the AU$6.5 million he is expected to receive as part of his annual salary.    

Banducci will step down in September and will be replaced Amanda Bardwell, the former leader of WooliesX - the digital arm of Woolworths.  

Bardwell is expected to get a $2.15 million pay package in the new roles, which includes superannuation, The Australian reported.  

During an earnings call with investors on Wednesday, Woolworths Group chair Scott Perkins emphasised its succession plan was "completely unaffected by the external events of the last couple of weeks".  

In the ABC interview, Banducci was asked about market competition and food prices amid the increased cost of living.    

Banducci said the market was "incredibly competitive" but interviewer Angus Grigg responded by quoting the former head of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, who said the country has one of the most concentrated supermarket industries in the world.    

In response, Banducci noted that commissioner was retired.    

"I don't think you would impugn his integrity and his understanding of competition law?" Grigg said.    

Banducci replied the world has got "much more competitive", to which Grigg said he only retired "18 months ago".    

Caught off-guard, Banducci then asked those comments be removed from the interview.    

"I mean, he is retired but I shouldn't have said that, Angus. Are we going to leave it in there?"    

Grigg responded the interview was "on the record, you said it. Let's just move on".    

One of Banducci's personal staff can then be heard in the background suggesting he leave.    

"I think I'm done, guys," he said to the ABC team. "I don't do this for bad intent."    

His staff then asked Grigg: "Can we just talk to Brad for a sec?"    

Banducci eventually came back and the interview resumed.   

A Senate inquiry in Australia is currently investigating whether the nation's supermarkets have engaged in price gouging practices as the cost-of-living crisis hurts consumers at the checkout. 

New Zealand's Commerce Commission recently completed a study into Aotearoa's supermarket industry and how competitive it is.  

The commission made 14 recommendations aimed at improving competition in the New Zealand retail grocery sector.