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New UK board in Tesco Management shuffle

Tesco has shaken up the senior management in its domestic operations, naming a new distinct board for the UK as Philip Clarke, the incoming chief executive, stamps his mark on the UK’s biggest supermarket chain by market share.

As part of the revamp, Per Bank, currently chief executive of Tesco’s operations in Hungary, becomes its new UK commercial director for food.

Laura Wade-Gery, the highly regarded head of Tesco’s online retailing operations, takes control of the UK non-food business in the role of commercial director for clothing electronics and general merchandise. It has not yet been decided who will take the role of head of Tesco.com.

The moves follow the elevation of Richard Brasher, Tesco’s UK commercial and trading director, who becomes chief executive of its domestic business in March.

This is in line with the plan set out when it was announced that Sir Terry Leahy was stepping down as group chief executive, to be replaced by Mr Clarke, currently head of international operations.

The UK board underlines the importance of Tesco’s domestic operations, which still account for about two-thirds of sales and profits. Mr Brasher also has some responsibilities extending overseas, and Tesco is also expected to name a new group commercial head.

Ms Wade-Gery was considered for the role of chief executive of Wm Morrison last year, according to a person familiar with the process. Mr Bank is a surprise choice for his new role, beating other tipped internal candidates.

People inside the company insist that Mr Brasher had decided on the moves but some retail watchers suggest the moves also reflect Mr Clarke’s influence, particularly given Mr Bank’s international experience.

Mr Brasher said: “I am very pleased to have such a strong team to run the UK business.”

Regaining Tesco’s poise in the UK will be one of Mr Clarke’s key tasks as chief executive. The supermarket is also expanding aggressively by opening new stores in its home market.

Source : Andrea Felsted - FT.com

06 January 2011
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