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Wal-Mart names a new CEO for Asda, its UK grocery unit

June 6, 2016 01:09 PM
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(Bloomberg)—Andy Clarke, the embattled head of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s U.K. supermarket chain Asda, said new chief operating officer Roger Burnley will eventually succeed him as chief executive officer.

“I wanted to find somebody who had the ability to be my successor," Clarke said of Burnley’s appointment in an interview with industry publication Retail Week. “It took us some time to find the right person, the right cultural fit, the right sort of character and leader that can run the business."

Asda is No. 9 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Europe 500 with an estimated $2.39 billion in 2015 web sales, according to Top500Guide.com data.

Burnley is due to join from J Sainsbury Plc (No. 21) in October after about a decade at one of Asda’s main supermarket competitors. His arrival comes as pressure mounts on Clarke after sales have fallen for seven straight quarters. David Cheesewright, the CEO of Wal-Mart’s international unit, said last week that he was very disappointed with the U.K. chain’s performance and that Asda will now prioritize protecting market share over profit.

“We’re on a three-year journey from a strategic plan perspective, I’m very happy to continue to deliver that and to work through that and see the strategic plan implemented," the CEO told Retail Week. Clarke didn’t say when he’ll step down.

Asda announced Burnley’s appointment as COO in October, although he has yet to start the job. It will be his second stint at the grocer after he spent six years in charge of Asda’s logistics before leaving to join discount clothing chain Matalan (No. 209) in 2002.

 

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