Board cull at Morrisons goes on as group trading director quits

MORRISONS has continued its boardroom cull with the departure of ​group trading director Casper Meijer as Asda announces it is on the hunt for a chief operating officer who could take on the top job when Andy Clarke leaves.

Picture: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Bradford-based Morrisons said Mr Meijer is to step down with immediate effect. He is the latest senior executive to leave in the wake of new boss David Potts’ appointment last month.

It is understood that Mr Potts wants someone in the role who will be based permanently in the UK. Mr Meijer’s family is based in the Netherlands and he travelled back on Fridays to see them.

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​In a statement, Morrisons said: “Casper’s family remain in The Netherlands and he has decided not to commit to living a fuller part of his life in Britain.”

It is understood that Mr Potts wants his executive team to live and shop in the UK on a permanent basis. He also wants them to live in Yorkshire and he is in the process of relocating to the area.

The search for his successor will start immediately and Andrew Pleasance, who has worked closely with the supply base, will take on the role of group trading director on an interim basis.

Mr Potts​, who​ has already disposed of the services of five directors on the 11-strong management team​, said: “Casper has played an important role in starting the process of making Morrisons better value-for-money for customers. However, we both believe now is the right time for this crucial role to be taken by an executive who will dedicate all their efforts to living and working here in Britain.”

In Leeds, Asda said it is looking for a chief operating officer to replace Judith McKenna, who moved to parent group Wal-Mart two years ago.

Asda decided to re-introduce the role after retail director Mark Ibbotson also left Asda to join Wal-Mart. Asda said the new chief operating officer could replace Mr Clarke if he also leaves to join Wal-Mart in the next few years. Asda said such a move is not expected in the near future.