Tesco chairman Sir Richard Broadbent said that the grocer needed a “fresh perspective” to move forward and that incoming chief executive Dave Lewis will build on what Philip Clarke has started.
Broadbent told Retail Week: “Philip did and does have the support of the board and Dave will build on what he has done. We all know the retail market is changing and there comes a point when we know that person has completed their task and it is time for someone else to take over.”
Broadbent said: “We needed a fresh perspective and it was time to hand over.”
Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke will step down in October and Dave Lewis, president, personal care at Unilever, will succeed him. Clarke will continue to provide support to Lewis until January 2015.
Broadbent said Clarke had done an “enormous job”, but it was his and the board’s job to plan succession when needed.
He said: “When Philip came in he saw how much he needed to change. He had to completely reposition the business, build it into a multichannel retailer. He had to make huge strategic calls – calling an end to the space race, exiting the US – and they were the right decisions.”
Broadbent said Lewis is a “great guy”. He added: “Dave has managed turnarounds in the UK and internationally, he is great on brand identity and knows Tesco very well. It is up to him to come in and see what needs to be done but he will be building on what Philip has done already.”
Broadbent said Lewis has handled turnarounds in particular in Latin America and in the personal care category, and he understands the challenges that grocers are facing in the UK at the moment.
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Tesco chairman on grocer's new chief executive: 'We needed a fresh perspective'