Morrisons adds to top team with another Tesco exec

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

David Potts continues to rebuild Morrisons top management team
David Potts continues to rebuild Morrisons top management team

Related tags Supermarket Retailing Asda

Morrisons boss David Potts has continued to rebuild the retailer’s senior management team, after the exit of more than half the previous board, with the appointment of former Tesco executive Gary Mills as group retail director.

Backed by more than 30 years in retail, with Tesco in both Ireland and the UK and Stewarts Supermarkets in Northern Ireland, Mills’s  experience covers all areas of retail and all formats, including supermarkets and convenience stores.

Potts said the appointment reflected further progress towards building a new board, after the departure of former executives, that would listen to customers.

“We are making good progress in shaping a Morrisons team that will listen to and work hard for customers,”​ he said. “I am looking forward to working with a highly capable team that is a combination of home-grown talent and experienced professionals.”

Reliant on recruiting from Tesco

City analyst Shore Capital welcomed the appointment, while dismissing the idea Potts was over reliant on recruiting from Tesco.

“The market may raise an eyebrow that another Tesco executive has joined Morrisons under Messrs Higginson​ [Morrisons’ chairman] and Potts’s leadership; Mr Mills following Darren Blackhurst, who is commercial director and who worked for the market leader before joining Asda, Matalan and B&Q.

“While interesting and noteworthy, we do not deem this further association with Tesco as any form of concern given that it is our belief that Mr Potts is much more interested in bringing Morrisons back to the future, returning the business to what made it great in a modern context, than making it a me-too Tesco.”

Shore Capital said the appointment was an important additional resource to the retailer’s senior team as he seeks to stabilise and rebuild Morrisons.

Gary Mills

“The new ceo took what we deemed to be decisive, clinical and necessary action in changing Morrisons’ executive team and group culture at first base in his tenure at the group,”​ said Black and Shirley.

Axed overheads

Under Potts’s leadership the business had significantly axed overheads, they added. “While cutting out inappropriate resource, Mr Potts does need a strong and effective, albeit streamlined executive team, and so Mr. Mills’ appointment is an important addition that frees up time for the ceo to further build his team, focus upon strategy and group wide operational matters.”

Morrisons was said to be toughing it out in the challenging British grocery market, where deflation and gross margin investment were key themes.

Mills will begin his new role on Saturday August 1, replacing Martyn Fletcher who was one of five directors who left the business following Potts's arrival at the Bradford-based retailer. More than half of Morrisons’ board left the retailer soon after the new ceo started work.

Meanwhile, earlier this month, Morrisons appointed Procter & Gamble md Irwin Lee as a non-executive board director.

How Morrisons shops at Tesco for its top management team

  • Gary Mills, group retail director, formerly with Tesco in Ireland and the UK
  • Darren Blackhurst, commercial director, former Tesco executive
  • David Potts​, ceo, formerly ceo of Tesco’s Asian businesses
  • Andrew Higginson​, chairman, formerly ceo Tesco retailing services

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1 comment

Morrisons / Tesco

Posted by Lawrence Lynn,

Looking at the current state, and the reported major losses and potential fraudulent reporting within Tesco, is it such a good idea for Morrison's to bring in so many ex Tesco executives, who obviously all failed to see the issues developing within the Tesco retail operations. Do Morrison's really need to take the risks of importing ex Tesco senior personnel?

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