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Tesco boss to step down in October

Tesco has announced that Philip Clarke is to step down as chief executive in October. He will be succeeded by Dave Lewis who is currently president of personal care at Unilever.

The supermarket giant, which has been struggling for some time against falling sales in the UK, also revealed that current trading conditions had been "more challenging" than anticipated at the time of its first quarter interim management statement on 4 June. In addition, sales and trading profit in the first half of the year were below expectations.

Clarke will remain with Tesco until 1 October but will also be available to support the transition to the new chief executive until the end of January 2015.

Tesco chairman Sir Richard Broadbent said: "Having guided Tesco through a substantial re-positioning in challenging markets, Philip Clarke agreed with the board that this is the appropriate moment to hand over to a new leader with fresh perspectives and a new profile.

“Philip has done a huge amount to set a clear direction and re-position Tesco to meet the rapid changes taking place in the retail market. He has achieved a great deal across all areas of the business in the face of considerable pressures. The board are deeply grateful to Philip for his contribution to Tesco, over the last four decades, as well as more recently as chief executive. His has been an outstanding achievement.”

Tesco said that Lewis would bring “a wealth of international consumer experience and expertise in change management, business strategy, brand management and customer development” to the role. He is already known to many people inside Tesco having worked with the business in his roles at Unilever.

Lewis is also non-executive director of British Sky Broadcasting Group. At Tesco, he will receive a basic salary of £1.25 million in addition to standard benefits “commensurate with his position”.

Meanwhile, Clarke will receive his current salary and benefits for the six month transitional period. Thereafter he will receive a sum equivalent to his contractual entitlement based on 12 months’ salary in lieu of notice.

Clarke said: "Having taken the business through the huge challenges of the last few years, I think this is the right moment to hand over responsibility and I am delighted that Dave Lewis has agreed to join us. Dave has worked with Tesco directly or indirectly over many years and is well-known within the business. I will do everything in my power to support him in taking the company forward through the next stage of its journey."

Tesco saw its group trading profit drop by 6% to £ £3.315 billion in the year to 22 February 2014. In the three months to 24 May, like-for-like sales fell by 3.7% as the supermarket continued to come under pressure from discount rivals.

Source: The Retail Bulletin

21 July 2014

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