New head will take Boots back to basics

Richard Baker, newly appointed chief executive of Boots, plans to pursue a back-to-basics strategy when he takes the helm in September.

Baker helped spearhead Asda's push into non-food and was heavily involved with the development of private label as the chief operating officer of the supermarket group.

He plans to steer clear of growth strategies pursued by former Boots management such as the ill-fated Wellbeing offer. 'They spent a lot of time on things other than the core retail business,' he said.

Baker said he will focus on Boots' 'core competencies', including over-the-counter dispensing and the retailing business. He highlighted the importance of Boots sub-brands such as No 7 and E45.

Dave McCarthy, retail analyst at SmithBarney, said: 'He's well known in the (supermarket) industry and is certainly well thought of. My view is that he's a good recruit.'