Tesco UK CEO Brasher in shock exit

Tesco’s UK CEO Richard Brasher is making a shock exit from the supermarket chain just a year after taking on the role, following a set of disappointing results.

Tesco Price Drop

Group CEO Philip Clarke will add responsibility for the UK supermarket chain to his remit. He told Reuters: “You can’t have two captains in a team”.

The reshuffle is part of Clarke’s plans to take a much closer involvement in the running of the UK business and comes just a year after he set up a dedicated UK board led by Brasher. He has recently vowed to introduce a raft of service improvements.

In a statement Clarke says: “I have decided to assume responsibility as the CEO of our UK business at this very important time. This greater focus will allow me to oversee the improvements that are so important for customers.”

Tesco also reshuffled its senior marketing team earlier this month and moved former UK marketing director Carolyn Bradley to a global group role, replacing her with David Wood, currently commercial director in Hungary and a former Kraft and Unilever marketer.

Brasher and Clarke took over running Tesco when Sir Terry Leahy stepped down after 10 years overseeing both the group and UK businesses, in March last year.

Brasher will leave the company in July after a handover period. He has overseen a year of disappointing results at Tesco’s UK operation and was behind the Big Price Drop marketing initiative, which launched last year.

Tesco’s market share dropped to 29.7% in the 12 weeks ending 19 February – its lowest point since 2005, according to Kantar Worldpanel supermarket share figures for February.

There have been a number of high profile departures at Tesco UK in the last year including Laura Wade-Gery who led Tesco.com and defected to lead Marks & Spencer’s multichannel strategy and Lucy Neville Rolf Tesco’s legal and corporate affairs director, who will leave in 2013.

Philip Clarke’s full statement on the future leadership of Tesco UK

I have decided to assume responsibility as the CEO of our UK business at this very important time. This greater focus will allow me to oversee the improvements that are so important for customers. I completely understand why Richard has decided to leave and want to thank him for the great contribution he has made over many years.

The depth of management at Tesco and the strong leadership team across the group allow me to take a more active role in the UK whilst our other businesses continue to grow.

Richard has been an architect of our successful format strategy; a true innovator with both Clubcard and the Dunnhumby partnership and over the last ten years has led the transformation of our non-food business and the creation of International Sourcing.

He will leave behind a UK business which has very strong plans for improvement, and over the last two months these plans are beginning to show progress, in line with our expectations. I am more determined than ever that these improvements in the UK will result in a better Tesco and an even better shopping trip for customers.

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