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Walmart taps Clarke as new Asda CEO
May 11th, 2010
BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Walmart has promoted Andy Clarke to president and chief executive officer of Asda, its United Kingdom supermarket subsidiary.
The discount retailing giant said Tuesday that Clarke, formerly Asda's chief operating officer, starts in the new post immediately at the low-price grocery chain.
With the move, previous chief executive Andy Bond will now take up a new role as chairman of Asda's Executive Committee, which Walmart stated will "help ensure a smooth leadership transition." Walmart had announced its plan in April to name a successor to Bond.
"I'm delighted to appoint Andy Clarke to be my successor," Bond said in a statement. "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."
A U.K. retailing veteran, Clarke joined Asda in 1992 and worked in a variety of roles, including store manager; business unit director of categories such as frozen, bakery and produce; and retail managing director for Asda's central division. Between 2001 and 2005, he had senior roles at Matalan and Iceland before returning to Asda as retail director. He was named Asda's COO in 2007.
“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," commented Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Walmart International. "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 COO, 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."
Walmart said that as the new CEO, Clarke will lead the retailer's efforts "to become an even better food retailer, a broader nonfood retailer and a leader in e-commerce."
Last month, the Asda leadership team unveiled a strategy that over the next five years, the retailer aims to become the market leader in general merchandise and No. 2 in food. Plans include a chain of 100 Asda supermarkets (smaller food stores) and 150 Asda Living (nonfood) stores as well as the use of global merchandising centers to further leverage Walmart's global scale.
In late April, the retailer launched the Asda Price Guarantee, a lowest-price program that enables customers to compare Asda's prices with those of competitors online. With the debut of the program, Asda said it has "fired the final shot in the supermarket price wars" and promised to beat competitors' prices.