“As ever, such developments underscore the fragility of us all,” said Clive Black, head of research at Shore Capital. “For Tesco this is a significant change for the senior team but it is a capable, well-drilled and experienced unit. Whilst not part of the business to the same extent, ongoing Charles’ intellect and material capabilities will remain within the business.
“More circumspect is the issue of succession, which may not be one Tesco has to encounter for some time but many, ourselves included, would have been pencilling Charles in as a lead candidate for the role. Whether or not this has permanently changed, time will tell.”
“... It is quite a shock and terribly sad and disappointing news. Charles is a great guy and we wish him the smoothest and speediest recovery; we are thankful that his initial treatment has been successful.”
In a statement, the supermarket chain said he would step down from the PLC board, but remain on the Tesco executive committee.
Jason Tarry, currently group chief product officer, would assume Wilson’s role and Andrew Yaxley, currently CEO for Ireland, would be promoted to group chief product officer and join the Tesco executive committee, said the retailer. Both Tarry and Yaxley would report to Tesco CEO Dave Lewis.
Tesco UK strategy
Wilson would focus on leading the Booker business, continuing to deliver the cost synergies and driving growth, as set out in the merger agreement. As a member of the executive committee he would also contribute to the broader Tesco UK strategy and would continue to report to Dave Lewis.
“Following an operation to remove his tonsils in April of this year, Charles Wilson was diagnosed with throat cancer,” Tesco stated. “During May and June he has been undergoing daily radiotherapy. The good news is that Charles has responded very well to the treatment and all the signs are that the treatment has been successful.
“However, given the nature of the illness and the need for Charles to remain vigilant in his recuperation, we have agreed to make … changes to responsibilities within the senior leadership team.”
All changes would be effective from 16 July, the company said.
Wilson was only named Tesco UK and Ireland CEO in February this year.