Asda CEO Andy Bond’s surprise departure could usher in a new era in the supermarket sector, according to analysts.
Bond is to step down as chief executive but will take the newly created part-time role of chairman of the Asda Executive Committee.
The news leaves three of the UK’s leading food retailers, Asda, Morrisons and Marks & Spencer, with new chief executives to lead them out of the recession.
Matthew Piner, retail analyst at Verdict Research, says: “Supermarkets have had one strategy for the recession and are now getting new people in place as they look for the next stage of growth. A new person, new ideas, new impetus.”
Piner adds that Bond’s exit is a surprise as it was presumed that he would be the one to lead Asda towards the new strategy outlined in February, but says the fact he is staying on as chairman suggests the decision came from him. Asda is due to outline a five-year strategy later this week.
Fraser McKevitt, retail analyst at Kantar Worldpanel, says: “It’s potentially an industry turning point. More so because falling inflation rates mean retailers will struggle to maintain growth and will potentially see less promotional activity.
“The big issue facing the new Asda CEO will be to decide whether to do something big with convenience stores or high street acquisitions or keep a focus on Every Day Low Prices above promotional activity.”
Asda has implied it will appoint a new CEO in the next few weeks and Piner believes the new post-holder is likely to come from within the Wal-Mart ranks.