Lidl appoints new CEO and marketing boss

UPDATED 17.10: Lidl has appointed Sven Seidel as its new chief executive and Robin Goudsblom as its new purchasing CEO, responsible for marketing and buying, following the departure of boss Karl-Heinz Holland and head of buying and marketing Dawid Jaschok, who left the company due to “differing views” over the future strategy of the discount retailer.

Video: Lidl’s new “surprises” marketing campaign

In an earlier statement Lidl had blamed “unbridgeable” differences for the departure of Holland and Jaschok, but did not go into further detail on what those strategic differences were. Seidel was previously head of corporate development at Lidl, while Goudsblom has until now held the position of purchasing director.

Holland’s departure came as a shock. He had been at Lidl for 23 years, taking over as boss five years ago following a scandal in which the retailer was alleged to have spied on staff. He oversaw the growth of Lidl to more than 10,000 stores across Europe and with plans to follow its rival Aldi into the US market.

Lidl started out with a no-frills approach to retail but recently has focused on more luxury items as its market share in its home German market declined.

That focus in the UK, mirrored in its marketing campaigns, has helped Lidl increase its share of the UK grocery market to 3.2 per cent for the 12 weeks to 2 March 2014, up from 2.8 per cent a year ago. Together with Aldi, it now accounts for a record 7.5 per cent of the market.

The success of the discounters has led the big four supermarkets to refocus on price, with Tesco, Asda and Morrisons all announcing billions in price cuts. Morrisons chief executive Dalton Philips called the rise of the discounters a “structural change” in how consumers shop for groceries.

Today (21 March) the retailer has kicked off a new UK marketing campaign under the strapline “Lidl specials” to showcase its wine, food, desserts and chocolates. The TV campaign features people being told “surprising” news, which they barely register because they are amazed at the deals on offer at Lidl.

The TV spots are supported by radio and outdoor, as well as print ads which will promote Lidl’s “Premium Deluxe” range. The campaign runs until 20 April.

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