Asda swaps Clarke for Clarke as chief exec says he'll step down next month

 
Emma Haslett
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Clarkes: Asda operates a one in, one out policy (Source: Getty)

Well, that was sudden: we knew Asda chief executive Andy Clarke was planning on going - but now the supermarket's owner has said Clarke will step down next month.

In a statement this morning Asda confirmed reports Clarke, who has been at the company for more than 20 years - six of which have been spent in the corner office - had decided "the timing is right" to depart.

It added that he will remain with the business until the end of next month, and will serve as an adviser until the end of this year.

Read more: For Asda boss Andy Clarke, the nadir may be yet to come

Clarke will be replaced by, er, another Clarke - Sean Clarke, formerly president and chief executive of the Chinese arm of Walmart, Asda's parent company. It called him "one of Walmart's most experienced executives, with a Walmart career that includes extensive experience abroad including Walmart Japan, Walmart Canada and starting his retail career in the UK at Asda back in 2001".

Meanwhile chief operating officer Roger Burnley, who as recently as last week was tipped as (Andy) Clarke's successor, will become Asda's deputy chief executive.

"Roger will be a strong support to Sean Clarke having held a variety of senior leadership positions across commercial and operational functions of UK retail businesses," said Asda today.

UK SUPERMARKETS' DWINDLING SALES

Market share in 12 weeks to 22 May (vs previous year):

TESCO: 28.3 per cent (28.6 per cent)

SAINSBURY'S: 16.2 per cent (16.5 per cent)

ASDA: 15.8 per cent (16.6 per cent)

MORRISONS: 10.7 per cent (10.9 per cent)

CO-OP: 6.2 per cent (6.0 per cent)

WAITROSE: 5.3 per cent (5.2 per cent)

LIDL: 4.4 per cent (3.9 per cent)

ICELAND: 2.1 per cent (2.1 per cent)

“Rejoining Asda at such a critical point in the development of the UK retail market is both a challenge and a privilege," added (Sean) Clarke.

"After spending the last 15 years in Walmart’s global retail markets, I’m looking forward to returning to the business that got me hooked on grocery retail.”

The UK's supermarkets have been hit hard in recent years as German discounters Aldi and Lidl hoovered up market share. Figures published by Kantar Worldpanel earlier this month showed Asda's sales declined by 0.3 per cent in the 12 weeks to the end of May.

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