Asda chief of six years Andy Clarke is to exit the business following several consecutive quarters of declining sales. An announcement this morning said the “timing was right” for the pocket-tapping veteran to step down.
Parent company Walmart is flying in Sean Clarke, who has been heading up its China division, to take over as president and chief executive officer. Roger Burnley will be named deputy chief executive and chief operating officer at Asda. when he rejoins the business in October 2016.
“Sean is one of our most experienced global executives, and through his leadership we will build upon the momentum of Project Renewal to reposition Asda in a very competitive market place. I’m also excited about Roger coming back to Asda, as we view him as a top talent and a future chief executive,” said David Cheesewright, president and chief executive of Walmart International.
“Together with the existing Asda executive team, Sean and Roger will serve as an incredibly powerful team to lead our Asda business. Their complementary skills and combined expertise in the U.K. retail market and globally brings an unrivaled breadth of retail knowledge to Asda.”
Asda recently reported its seventh consecutive fall in sales, – down 5.7 per cent in this year's first quarter – accepting that growth from the discounters and the intense price competition has left it in a precarious position.
Clarke and Burnley have both been briefed to build upon the momentum of Project Renewal which so far has seen the retailer earmark some £1.5bn to be invested into lowering the price of goods on its shelves (£500m of which was ploughed into the fund at the beginning of the year).
Andy Clarke will remain with the business until the end of July, at which point he will serve as an advisor for the remainder of 2016. He will also retain his current role as Asda’s representative in certain functions, namely as president of industry body IGD.