Asda’s top marketer Barry Williams quits after 8 years

Just 12 months after taking the top marketing job, Asda's Barry Williams has left the retailer.

He will be replaced by Andy Murray, currently parent company Walmart’s senior vice president of creative and customer experience and the founder of shopper marketing agency, Saatchi & Saatchi X.

An eight-year veteran with the retailer, Williams was promoted from chief merchandising officer to chief customer officer last January following the departure of marketing boss Steve Smith. With a broad marketing remit, he became a key part of Asda chief executive Andy Clarke’s overhauled executive team which he hoped would see it through “one of the toughest years for retailers in the UK”.

However, following consecutive quarters of dissapointing sales last month Asda was forced to downsize its marketing team, with director of marketing innovation Dom Burch among those soon to depart amidst the 100-strong cull of head office jobs.

The ongoing restructuring and cuts underpin ‘Project Renewal’ – Asda’s blueprint for the future – which Clarke today (8 February) said “needs the right leadership team to steer the business through the rapid, permanent shift that's taking place in this market".

“Keeping ahead of what our customers want by recognising when their needs change and adapting how we do things is the cornerstone of Project Renewal,” he said.

“It is in this context that I am delighted to welcome Andy Murray to Asda as our chief customer officer. His deep understanding of global retail trends, creative marketing and customers’ shopping habits will bring a new dimension to our strategy to overhaul our offer, merchandising and value proposition and transform of our stores, starting with the largest 95 stores.”

Clarke added that Williams had done a “fantastic job” of focusing its marketing and customer strategy but “Andy is the right person to lead its implementation and future development.”

Murray will take on the role from 15 February. It is not yet known if Williams has another job to go to.

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