Roger Burnley’s appointment as Asda’s new chief executive doesn’t come with any element of surprise, but it still marks an important juncture in the retailer’s recent history.

Burnley was initially brought in from Sainsbury’s a year ago as chief commercial officer and deputy chief executive and it was an open secret that the plan was for him to eventually succeed Sean Clarke as the main man.

It says much about the high regard in which Burnley is held by industry peers that Sainsbury’s colleagues were gutted to lose him, and rival grocers will be respectful of his ability to build on the foundations that Clarke has laid since he joined the UK business from Walmart China.

Clarke deserves a huge amount of credit for the work he has done in the past 15 months. He joined a business that was deep in the mire, had lost focus and stopped doing the basics well.

It must have been tough reporting quarter upon quarter of sales declines while Asda’s big four rivals Tesco and Morrisons were back in growth and taking the battle to the discounters.

But Clarke kept his head down, simplified the strategy to focus on price, range and service, and leaves at a time when the first green shoots of recovery are starting to show.

On the shoulders of Clarke

Burnley now has firm foundations in place from which to build a newly successful Asda. And he has the distinct benefit of being able to hit the ground running, having worked closely with Clarke on Asda’s strategy since his return to his native Yorkshire.

“If Asda does, as I expect, continue along the road to recovery, Burnley will be the first to acknowledge the role Clarke has played in turning the ship around”

Often new chief executives come in and want to tear up the rule book, but there’s little chance of that happening with Burnley.

He is a sensible, no-nonsense operator who doesn’t add unnecessary complexity to the business of selling groceries and will listen closely to his staff and respond to the needs of Asda shoppers.

This is in part what makes him a popular figure among colleagues, not least those on the shop floor. He also happens to be a down-to-earth guy with a good sense of humour.

I’ve no doubt Burnley will be successful in his new role; but if Asda does, as I expect, continue along the road to recovery, Burnley will be the first to acknowledge the role Clarke has played in turning the ship around.

NameJob rolePrevious company / company exitingCompany joiningJob role
Nick Read Chief executive Nisa    
David Boynton Chief executive Charles Tyrwhitt The Body Shop Chief executive
Karl Doyle Executive group product director Mothercare Reiss Group trading director
Steve Murray Chief executive Dr Martens    
Chris Harris Property director Arcadia Group John Lewis Property director
Paul Justice Operations director Dixons Carphone Debenhams Retail operations director
Ben Jobling International franchise and wholesale director Dune Debenhams International franchise director
Simon Dales Retail operations director Debenhams Retiring  
James Radford General manager for EMEA FitFlop Dune International franchise and wholesale director
Davy Zyw Global wine and spirits buyer Direct Wines Berry Bros. & Rudd Wine buyer
James Lancaster Co-founder McColl’s    
Nick Canning Joint managing director Iceland    
Alex Baldock Chief executive Shop Direct    
Arnu Misra Non-executive director Internal move Nisa Interim chief executive
Paul Andrew Design director for women’s footwear Internal promotion Salvatore Ferragamo Creative director for women’s collections
Alan Williams Managing director Sleepmasters / Bensons Bensons Chief operations officer
Dean Simpson     Harveys Chief operations officer
Henry Swift Interim marketing director Internal promotion Steinhoff Chief customer officer
Mark Jackson Chief financial officer Pepkor UK Bensons for Beds and Harveys Finance director for both brands
Chily Fachler IT & process director Internal promotion Steinhoff Chief information officer
Karen Peacock Design director Amazon Warehouse Design director
Andrew Humphreys Chief financial officer Conviviality    
Matt Atkinson Chief marketing officer Saga The Co-operative Chief membership officer
Mark Moran     Conviviality Chief financial officer
Shaun Wills Chief executive Jacques Vert    
Peter Ridler     Jacques Vert Chief executive
Jonathan Wall Group ecommerce director Shop Direct Missguided Chief digital officer
Christopher Bailey President and chief creative officer Burberry    
Roger Burnley Chief commercial officer and deputy chief executive Internal promotion Asda Chief executive
Sean Clarke Chief executive Asda    
Tom Athron Group development director John Lewis Partnership    
Jo Jenkins Director of clothing Marks & Spencer White Stuff Chief executive
Nick Smith Retail director Dixons Carphone DFS Retail director
Mike Carslake Retail director, Carphone Warehouse Internal promotion Dixons Carphone Retail director
Kevin Snowball Divisional director Internal promotion Dixons Carphone Retail director, Carphone Warehouse
Simon Brace Director The Real Adventure The Mall at Cribbs Causeway Head of marketing



Content provided by Anthony Gregg Partnership.

You can call Tony Gregg on 01564 796830 or email him at

Founded in 2003 and located in Henley-in-Arden and London, The Anthony Gregg Partnership specialises in the consumer search market space.