Asda has re-shaped its customer and marketing teams as the grocer ramps up efforts to reconnect to its core shopper base, Retail Week can reveal.


The embattled supermarket giant has made a trio of new appointments following a restructure of the division, which is headed up by chief customer officer Andy Murray, to ramp up efforts to reconnect to its core shopper base,

The Walmart-owned supermarket chain has poached the Co-op’s customer data director Andrew Mann to take on the role of vice president of insight, pricing and digital CRM.

Mann, who previously spent four-and-a-half years as Clubcard director at Tesco before taking on the role of director of insight and loyalty at Sainsbury’s, will spearhead a push to transform the retailer into a data driven business.

He will be charged with leading a more customer-centric pricing and promotions plan and will also be responsible for developing a more strategic approach to CRM.

Asda has also drafted in Eilidh MacAskill as its new vice president of creative, overseeing the grocer’s design, marketing and advertising function.

Former journalist MacAskill, who was editor of IPC Media’s InStyle magazine for almost five years, joins Asda from Monsoon Accessorize, where she held the role of global marketing director.

Retail Week understands that Asda’s vice-president of marketing Claire Harrison-Church has left the business as part of the reshuffle.

Charlotte Cool has also joined the grocer as vice-president of corporate affairs, a role that spans Asda’s press office, public relations, government relations, sustainability and community functions. 

Prior to joining Asda earlier this month, Cool spent 10 years at the John Lewis Partnership, a spell that culminated with a five-month stint as director of communications.

Fresh talent

The clutch of appointments are the latest in a series of senior hires Asda has made during the past year as it battles to arrest plummeting sales.

Murray himself was only parachuted in from parent company Walmart in February, after being handed the remit of rejuvenating Asda’s value proposition, merchandising and larger stores.

Murray is bidding to reconnect with alienated Asda shoppers after admitting the grocer “lost focus” on what made it “great” amid the fierce price war with the discounters. 

Since Murray’s appointment, new boss Sean Clarke has been drafted in from Walmart’s Chinese arm to replace his namesake Andy Clarke at the helm, while Asda has also poached Lidl chief operating officer Chris Walker to become vice president of supermarkets.

Last year, Asda pinched Sainsbury’s retail and operations director Roger Burnley to become its deputy chief executive and chief operating officer – a role he takes up next month.

Walmart chiefs hope the wave of fresh talent will breathe new life into the stuttering business, which suffered an eye-watering 7.5% slump in like-for-like sales during the quarter ending June 30.

Shift in strategy

Asda has endured a tough 18 months, with like-for-likes tumbling 4.7% in its full year to December 31 2015.

However, the grocer’s profits advanced 5.9% to £974.9m during the 12-month period as it focused on protecting its bottom line.

But speaking to Retail Week during Walmart shareholders week in June, Walmart international boss Dave Cheesewright insisted its focus would shift from protecting profits to growing market share as it bids to mount a fight back.

Earlier this month Asda laid down the gauntlet to its rivals by launching a fresh wave of price investment, slashing prices of more than 1,000 products by an average of 15% in an attempt to win back customers.