Asda boss Andy Clarke to step down

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Asda boss Andy Clarke is to step down from his role next month, after six years at the helm
Asda boss Andy Clarke is to step down from his role next month, after six years at the helm

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Asda boss Andy Clarke is to step down from his role as ceo and president of Asda next month, after more than 20 years with the supermarket and six years at its helm.

The supermarket’s US parent company Walmart said that Clarke had “decided the timing is right to step aside from his role with the company”.

Walmart praised the ceo’s key contribution to the firm’s UK success, in what it described as “one of the world’s most competitive retail markets”.

The retailer said in a statement: “Andy and his leadership team have played a key role in several innovations in the marketplace, such as grocery home delivery and pickup. He has also served as a strong leader for the business during a time of increased competition and heightened customer expectations.”

Clarke will stay with the supermarket until the end of next month and will serve as an adviser for the rest of this year.

He will also retain his current role as Asda’s representative as president of the grocery think-tank IGD.

New president and ceo

Replacing Clarke will be Sean Clarke, who will return to Asda, as new president and ceo from July 11.

The new ceo carried the same job title with Walmart China, where he won praise from the global retail giant for leading growth in a critical market. “Sean is one of Walmart’s most experienced executives, with a Walmart career that includes extensive experience abroad including Walmart Japan, Walmart Canada and starting his retail career in the UK at Asda back in 2001,” ​said Walmart.

“Sean’s leadership will allow Asda to build upon the momentum of Project Renewal and reposition the business in a very competitive market place.”

The retailer also confirmed the appointment of Roger Burnley as deputy ceo and chief operating officer from October 2016. Burnley has held a variety of senior leadership positions across commercial and operational functions of UK retail businesses.

He worked at Asda between 1996 and 2002 and was part of the core team responsible for integrating Asda into Walmart following its acquisition in 1999.

Leadership of the Walmart China

Following the Asda appointments, Dirk Van De Berghe, currently president and ceo, Walmart Canada will take over leadership of the Walmart China business from August 22. He will also take on the role of regional president for the retailer’s Asia business, including Walmart Japan.

Also Scott Price, currently president and ceo Walmart Asia, will focus exclusively on his additional role as chief administrative officer – Walmart International.

Walmart International president and ceo David Cheesewright said: “Actively managing our global business portfolio is a key element of our international strategy, and we must have the right talent in place to lead our businesses through times of change.”

Meanwhile, last month the retailer blamed a 5.7% fall in like-for-like sales in its first quarter trading on “fierce competition”​ in the UK retail sector.

Asda has posted like-for-like sales slumps in four consecutive quarters.

What the new bosses say about their appointments

Sean Clarke: “Rejoining Asda at such a critical point in the development of the UK retail market is both a challenge and a privilege. After spending the last 15 years in Walmart’s global retail markets, I’m looking forward to returning to the business that got me hooked on grocery retail.”

Roger Burnley: “Asda is a business I know well, and one I’m excited to rejoin at a critical time in its history. I’ve always admired Asda’s passionate colleagues, relentless focus on the customer and its ability to reposition itself in a crowded marketplace. Being part of the world’s largest retailer also presents a huge personal opportunity to work alongside world-class talent, including Sean. I’m looking forward to getting started.”

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