Asda has appointed a new chief customer officer to replace Andy Murray, who will return to the US after four years leading the retailer’s UK marketing.
Chief executive Roger Burnley announced today (7 January) that Anna-Maree Shaw will take on the role of chief customer officer at the end of January.
Shaw was most recently based in her native Australia where she was working with the University of Queensland leading its marketing, customer experience and digital strategy through her own consultancy practice, Customer Dialogue. Prior to setting up her own shop, she held senior marketing roles at retailer Michael Hill, comparethemarket.com.au, and Flight Centre.
“As we kick off 2020 I am very confident that not only do we have the right team in place, but also the right strategy to make sure we can continue to serve our customers and grow our business, not just for this year but beyond,” Burnley said.
Her appointment comes as part of a wider shake-up of the leadership team at the UK retailer, with Burnley also welcoming a new chief operating officer in Anthony Hemmerdinger, chief supply chain officer in Mark Simpson, chief people officer Hayley Tatum, chief merchandising officer Derek Lawlor and chief financial officer Rob McWilliam.
Shaw is joining the business at a critical time. In its most recent set of quarterly results, Asda’s saw like-for-like sales dropped by 0.5% for the three months to September 2019. Meanwhile, figures from Kantar suggest that it was the second-worst performing of the major grocers over the crucial Christmas period as it saw sales fall by 2.2%.
The disappointing results capped off a year in which a proposed merger with rival Sainsbury’s was blocked by the Competition and Markets Authority.
When Murray joined in 2016, Asda was at a similarly critical period in its growth after suffering several consecutive quarters of sales decline. Murray solution was an overhaul its advertising agency roster within months of arriving, ditching VCCP and hiring Saatchi & Saatchi, the group he had spent a nearly decade at as the founder of its shopper marketing arm.
The plan to re-establish the brand on factors beyond just cheap prices saw it experiment with ambassadors like James Martin in its ad campaigns, but it continued to struggle to define its offering in the face of increasing competition from Lidl and Aldi.
Murray once again overhauled its advertising agency roster in response to the headwinds. In April 2018, AMV BBDO was awarded Asda’s creative account and continues to hold it today having most recently managed its 2019 Christmas campaign.
Asda has not confirmed if Murray would remain within the wider Walmart group when he returns State-side.