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Retail

Asda Recruits Former Tesco Director Ken Towle To Run Stores

British supermarket group Asda has recruited former Tesco executive Ken Towle as its new retail director with responsibility for all stores, it said in a press release.

The UK's third largest grocer, owned since last February by Mohsin and Zuber Issa and private equity company TDR Capital, has been without a chief executive since Roger Burnley left abruptly in August.

It said Towle, currently CEO of the Co-op Group-owned Nisa, will join Asda later this year. Prior to leading Nisa, Towle spent 30 years with market leader Tesco.

Commenting on the appointment, Mohsin and Zuber Issa, who own Asda with TDR Capital Ltd, said, "Ken [Towle]’s considerable expertise as a retail and wholesale CEO with many years’ experience in some of the largest and most complex businesses, both in the UK and internationally, make him the right person to lead our retail operations team."

Other Management Changes

Asda also announced the departure of another top executive.

It said Derek Lawlor, who has led its commercial team since 2019 has decided to leave the business after six years.

His exit also follows that of chief operating officer Anthony Hemmerdinger and chief strategy officer Preyash Thakrar last September.

Asda said Kris Comerford will join in late summer 2022 as chief commercial officer, food.

Comerford will join from Tesco, where he most recently held the role of UK commercial director, packaged foods, fuel and tobacco.

Asda also said that Simon Gregg, who currently leads its online operation, will join the executive leadership team.

'Experience And Passion For Retail'

Lord Stuart Rose, chairman of Asda, stated, "I would like to thank Derek [Lawlor] for his immense contribution to Asda over the past six years and wish him well for the future.

"I am delighted that Ken [Towle], Kris [Comerford] and Simon [Gregg] are joining the leadership team at Asda, where their experience and passion for retail will further strengthen our great team as we continue to build on Asda’s long heritage of delivering affordable quality and championing our customers.”

Industry data published on Wednesday showed Asda's sales fell 3.9% in the 12 weeks to 26 December year-on-year, but were up 3.5% on a two-year basis.

News by Reuters, additional reporting by ESM. For more Retail news, click here. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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