Morrisons quiet on reports online grocery boss has quit

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Morrisons refused to confirm or deny reports George Dymond, recently recruited to head its online grocery service, had resigned
Morrisons refused to confirm or deny reports George Dymond, recently recruited to head its online grocery service, had resigned

Related tags West yorkshire Supermarket Morrisons

Morrisons has refused to confirm or deny reports that George Dymond, the man recruited to head its online grocery service, has resigned just weeks after starting his new role.

A spokesman for the UK’s fourth biggest supermarket told “It is our policy never to comment on individuals within our business.”

But widespread media reports claim Dymond has quit his new position but may be found an alternative role within the organisation. According to a report in the Financial Times: “Some people familiar with the situation suggested that the role had not turned out to be what Mr Dymond was expecting.”

Dymond joined the retailer after working with the Australian retailer Coles, where he was group general manager of merchandise. Previously he worked for 10 years as trading director of Carphone Warehouse.

In partnership with Ocado

Morrisons began its online grocery delivery service​ – in partnerhip with Ocado – just two weeks ago.

The uncertainty surrounding Dymond’s employment status with Morrisons is the third in a series of setbacks for the retailer this year.

Last week, in an unconnected development, Morrisons refused to confirm or deny reports that its group treasurer Paul Coyle had been arrested on suspicion of insider dealing​, in advance of the supermarket’s partnership with online grocer Ocado.

A Morrisons’ spokesman told “We can confirm an arrest has been made but nothing more.”

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) also confirmed that an arrest had been made in December in conjunction with North Yorkshire and West Yorkshire police for “alleged insider dealing and market abuse allegations”.

Unhappy Christmas results

At the start of this month, the retailer revealed a particularly unhappy set of Christmas results, with like-for-like sales down by 5.6% for the six weeks to January 5. Total sales fell by 1.9%, excluding fuel and by 3.3% when fuel was included.

Describing the results as “disastrous”, ​City analyst Shore Capital said: “Morrisons has surprised us with an especially disappointing trading update today [January 9].”

Speaking at the time, Morrisons’ boss Dalton Philips blamed the results on discounting by rivals and the growing importance of online and convenience channels – both area in which the retailer had been slow to establish a presence.

“In a very tough market, our sales performance over Christmas was disappointing”,​ said Philips. “However, we are firmly focused on driving our core business and accelerating our penetration of the fast-growing channels.”

In recent years Morrisons has suffered a series of departures by top executives. In November 2012, Richard Hodgson, commercial director​, left the businesses.

In June 2012 Richard Pennycook​, group finance director, quit his role.

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