ASDA is tipped to promote its chief operating officer, Andy Clarke, to the top job next week following chief executive Andy Bond’s decision to step aside.
Clarke is understood to have been selected ahead of several internal candidates including Darren Blackhurst, Asda’s punchy trading director. Blackhurst has now resigned after five years at the Wal-Mart owned retailer.
Bond, who will become part-time chairman, hands over the Asda reins to Clarke at a sensitive time. The UK’s second-largest supermarket chain is fighting to hold onto market share against competitors such as Wm Morrison and J Sainsbury, and last month unveiled a challenge to match its rivals’ prices for any basket of goods or refund up to £25 of the difference.
There have also been suggestions Asda is looking for a major acquisition in the non-food space to close the gulf between its sales figures and Tesco’s. Asda is said to have previously examined targets as large as Homebase and Home Retail, the parent company of Argos.
The company did not respond to requests for comment last night.