Asda has appointed chief operating officer Andy Clarke as chief executive.
Clarke, who was group retail director of value chain Matalan in the early noughties, takes over from Andy Bond who will now step up to the role of part-time chairman.
Clarke had been widely tipped for the role after internal candidates, finance chief Judith McKenna and Walmart Canada boss David Cheesewright, ruled themselves out of the running. Another internal candidate, chief merchandising officer Darren Blackhurst, left the business last week. A clutch of other Walmart directors were also in the running.
Clarke joined Asda as a store manager in 1992 and worked his way up the business. In 2002 he left for a year-long stint at Matalan but returned to Asda as retail director in 2005. At Matalan he was group retail director.
Bond said: “I’m delighted to appoint Andy Clarke to be my successor. He was clearly the right choice from the internal and external candidates we considered. I’m looking forward to doing everything I can to ensure a smooth transition for Andy in his new role.”
President and chief executive of Walmart International, Doug McMillon said: “At Walmart and at Asda, we have a robust succession planning and talent development process and Andy Clarke has long been identified as a leader. With his long career at Asda, working first as a store manager, followed by key roles in trading, as retail director and most recently as chief operating officer, Andy knows the company, our colleagues and he cares about our customers. He is the ideal person for the job and this will be a seamless leadership change.”
Clarke will also have to recruit a new trading director, following the sudden departure of Blackhurst last week. Its marketing chief Rick Bendel is overseeing his responsibilities until a permanent replacement is found.