Asda has named Sainsbury’s retail and operations director Roger Burnley as its new chief operating officer.

Burnley, who will join Asda “some time next year” because he is coming from a competitor, has previously worked with Asda chief executive Andy Clarke at Matalan and at Asda.

Asda began searching for a chief operating officer in January and the appointment will be seen as making Burley the frontrunner to eventually succeed Clarke as chief executive.

Clarke said: “We couldn’t have got anybody with a better retail pedigree than Roger, particularly because he is a former colleague.”

“These are times of unprecedented turbulence for our industry. Whilst we are not immune from the effects of this, we are fortunate to be part of a healthy, sustainable business with a clear strategy for success.

“Adding Roger to Asda’s executive team further strengthens the board which, I believe, is now one of the most experienced and capable in the industry. I am looking forward to working with him again, this time as my deputy.”

Return to Asda

Burnley previously worked at Asda from 1996 and 2002, most recently as supply chain director and Asda said he was “part of the core team responsible for integrating Asda into Walmart following the acquisition in 1999”.

At Sainsbury’s Burnley is in charge of 160,000 staff spanning superstores, c-stores and logistics.