Morrisons announces new chief executive as turnaround strategy starts to takes shape

Morrisons has announced the appointment of former Tesco retail director David Potts CBE as its new chief executive and the long-awaited replacement of departing boss Dalton Philips.

Potts, who will start the role on 16 March, has been in grocery retail for over 40 years having started his career on the shop floor in Tesco in 1973 and working his way up to become its retail director in the UK and CEO of its Irish businesses.

He also brings considerable international experience to Morrisons having led Tesco’s Asian business.

“David is the best retailer I have worked with in 25 years in the industry,” said Andrew Higginson, chairman of Morrisons.

Higginson, who worked alongside Potts at Tesco for 15 years when he was CFO of the supermarket giant, says Potts will ‘bring a focus on the customer’ and will ‘lead from the front, and with distinction.’

“Customers and Morrisons are a great combination to serve,” added Potts, who will be tasked with returning Morrisons to growth as it aims to win back customers lost to the discounters. “This is a great British business with real potential and it is an honour to have been selected.”

Potts will have his work cut out with the Bradford-based big-four supermarket reporting a 3.1% drop in like-for-like sales in the six weeks to 4 January. It is subsequently set to close 10 loss-making stores this year.

Chairman Andrew Higgison, who believes Morrisons is the most distinctive UK supermarket brand, recently revealed Morrisons’ advertising would now shift away from price-focused tactics and begin to focus more on the customer.

Morrisons, as shown by YouGov’s BrandIndex, which measures retail brands index score by looking at consumer perception of quality, value, reputation and satisfaction, currently has an index score of 19.9 – ahead of rivals Asda and Tesco.

Placed sixth out of 26 of the UK’s biggest retailers, Morrisons’ index score has fallen 3.4 percentage points over the last year as it was overtaken by Lidl.

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here