Analysis: Lewis is planning Tesco’s future, not just succession

Dave Lewis has further ambitions for Tesco before he leaves

There was one moment in Dave Lewis’ penultimate press conference as Tesco chief executive this morning that perfectly encapsulated his transformative tenure.

Casting his mind back to the business he inherited five years ago, Lewis recalled: “I don’t think we had a strategy in September 2014.” He turned to Tesco’s UK boss and veteran of almost 30 years, Jason Tarry, to ask if he agreed. 

Tarry gave a one-word answer describing Tesco’s position back then: “Survival.”

It may have garnered a few laughs from the media and other members of Tesco’s leadership team in attendance, but it was no joke. Lewis took over a Tesco that had lost sight of its purpose, alienated customers and shed sales and profitability amid the onslaught of the discounters.

But if the name of the game back then was simply to survive, Lewis has radically reshaped Tesco to allow it to thrive once more, rediscovering its identity, resetting its proposition and reconnecting to the modern consumer.

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