Outgoing Asda chief executive Andy Bond is to advise parent company Walmart on conquering Russia and other new markets when he steps up to the role of chairman.
As revealed on RW Online on Monday, Bond will step down to a three day a week chairman position as soon as a new chief executive is appointed, and as well as helping bed-in his successor, he said he will work on other projects for Walmart. He has already been advising it on new markets, and cracking Russia is a priority.
His resignation was announced ahead of yesterday’s Walmart investor meeting at Asda’s Leeds head office, when it was expected that the grocer would expand on its ambitions to become the UK’s number one non-food retailer. Weekend reports linked the company with a bid for Argos and Homebase owner Home Retail Group.
A raft of internal Walmart and Asda names have emerged as contenders to replace Bond. They include Walmart chief merchandising officer John Fleming, its chief marketing officer Stephen Quinn, Canadian chief David Cheesewright - who was Asda chief operating officer until moving to Canada in 2007 - and former Safeway trading director Jack Sinclair, who runs Walmart’s US grocery business.
Chief operating officer Andy Clarke is seen as the most likely candidate from within Asda to take the role. External candidates are also being considered.
Bond told Retail Week this week that he is involved with the process of recruiting his replacement, and insisted that it was his decision to step down. “I’ve been with Asda 16 years and chief executive for five. It was my decision because I want to do other things. I feel, and the company feels, I’ve done a great job.”
He denied his departure was connected to Asda’s performance. Kantar Worldpanel figures show its market share fell 0.2% to 17.1% in the 12 weeks to March 21. “If you take the period I’ve been responsible for we’ve had record market share growth in that time,” he argued. “Food retailing is significantly tougher for everyone than it was this time last year. It’s largely a market issue.”
Bond said he had not firmed up concrete plans for what else he will do after he steps down but that he would be following in Allan Leighton’s footsteps by “going plural”.