Leeds-based Asda said that its current CEO Andy Clarke has decided the timing is right to step aside from his role with the company.
Parent company Wal-Mart said that with more than 20 years at Asda, and the last six as CEO, Andy has been a key contributor to Wal-Mart’s success in the UK, which it described as one of the world’s most competitive retail markets.
Andy Clarke, who is no relation to Sean Clarke, will remain with the business until the end of July, at which point he will serve as an advisor for the remainder of 2016. He will also retain his current role as Asda’s representative in certain functions, namely as president of the IGD, a research and training charity which provides information and best practice to the global food and grocery industry.
Sean Clarke is currently head of Wal-Mart’s Chinese operations. Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer, confirmed that Dewsbury-born Roger Burnley will be named deputy CEO and chief operating officer at Asda when he rejoins the business in October.
Wal-Mart said in a statement: “Roger will be a strong support to Sean Clarke having held a variety of senior leadership positions across commercial and operational functions of UK retail businesses. He worked at Asda between 1996 and 2002 and was part of the core team responsible for integrating Asda into Wal-Mart following its acquisition in 1999.“
The firm added: “Andy and his leadership team have played a key role in several innovations in the marketplace, such as grocery home delivery and pick-up. He has also served as a strong leader for the business during a time of increased competition and heightened customer expectations.”
David Cheesewright, president and CEO of Walmart International, said: “Sean is one of our most experienced global executives, and through his leadership we will build upon the momentum of Project Renewal to reposition Asda in a very competitive market place. I’m also excited about Roger coming back to Asda, as we view him as a top talent and a future CEO.
“Together with the existing Asda executive team, Sean and Roger will serve as an incredibly powerful team to lead our Asda business. Their complementary skills and combined expertise in the U.K. retail market and globally brings an unrivalled breadth of retail knowledge to Asda.”
Sean Clarke said: “Rejoining Asda at such a critical point in the development of the UK retail market is both a challenge and a privilege. After spending the last 15 years in Wal-Mart’s global retail markets, I’m looking forward to returning to the business that got me hooked on grocery retail.”
Mr Burnley added: “Asda is a business I know well, and one I’m excited to rejoin at a critical time in its history. I’ve always admired Asda’s passionate colleagues, relentless focus on the customer and its ability to reposition itself in a crowded marketplace. Being part of the world’s largest retailer also presents a huge personal opportunity to work alongside world-class talent, including Sean. I’m looking forward to getting started.”