Asda names industry expert as new chief customer officer

Asda has appointed Meghan Farren as chief customer officer and she will join the Leeds-based grocer in October.

In 2020, Ms Farren was named one of the Top 10 Marketers in the UK

Ms Farren will join the Asda team from KFC where she has been the chief marketing officer for the UK & Ireland since 2016.

Asda said she will bring a wealth of experience in strategy, brand management and communications, adding that she is most well-known for building talented, high performing teams and empowering them to deliver "bold, courageous work".

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Before her appointment as CMO, Ms Farren held various leadership roles in insight, innovation and communications.

Prior to her 10 years at KFC, Asda said Ms Farren had a track record of driving growth and business change across a broad range of consumer businesses.

She began her career at JPMorganChase, then spent five years in strategy consulting across various retail and FMCG sectors, followed by roles in sales, category management and brand marketing at Gu Puds.

As Asda’s chief customer officer, Ms Farren will lead the development and strategy of Asda’s customer proposition, marketing and management of its brands - leading a team of over 250 colleagues based in Leeds and Lutterworth.

Ms Farren will replace Anna-Maree Shaw in the role of chief customer officer after the latter returned to her native Australia in January.

Preyash Thakrar, Asda’s chief strategy officer has provided interim leadership support to the Asda customer team over the past seven months and will continue to do so until Ms Farren joins the business later in the year.

He will then return to his core chief strategy officer role, as part of Asda’s leadership team and reporting to Roger Burnley where he will continue to lead Asda’s strategy and business development and building Asda’s partnerships programme, including B&Q, and The Entertainer.

Roger Burnley, CEO of Asda said; “I am delighted to welcome Meg to the Asda leadership team as chief customer officer – where she will play a pivotal role in driving our customer strategy forward.

"Meg brings a wealth of experience to this role from her time at KFC – and her combination of creative instinct and experience, customer centric approach and track record in leading high performing teams will be a great addition to Asda as we take the next exciting step forward on our journey.

"I am also very grateful for all Preyash has delivered over the last year – stepping across to support the customer team as well as his role as chief strategy officer."

Commenting on the appointment to Asda’s leadership team, Mohsin and Zuber Issa said: “It’s great news that Meg is joining Asda at such an exciting time for the business, as we look to invest in online, source more food from UK farmers and enhance the customer offer.

"Meg brings fantastic food, brand and customer experience from her role at KFC. We are delighted she will be part of the leadership team looking to support and grow this iconic, British brand.”

Ms Farren said: “I am beyond thrilled to join the team leading Asda into its next chapter. It is a real privilege to lead the customer team of such an iconic British brand that not only has such a rich heritage but also deep roots in its communities and a place in the heart of most British households.

"I am looking forward to a big challenge and the chance to do epic things with a wonderful group of people.”

In 2020, Ms Farren was named one of the Top 10 Marketers in the UK, was an AdAge Creativity All-Star in 2018, and consistently appears in Campaign’s Power 100 and Marketing Week’s Top 100 Food & Drink Retail Marketers.