Asda suspends search for new CEO

The role has been described by insiders as “the job no one wants”.
// Asda has suspended its long search for a new chief executive
// The chain of 4 large supermarkets has been without a boss since last August

Asda has temporarily suspended its search for a new chief executive to succeed Roger Burnley, with Mohsin Issa believed to be heavily involved in the supermarket chain’s day-to-day operations.

Britain’s third largest grocer has been without a boss since last August, when Roger Burnley left earlier than expected after a disagreement over strategy with the new owners of Asda.

The Issa brothers, the oil tycoons, and TDR Capital, the private equity investor, have completed their Takeover of Asda for £6.8bn last year and since then Mohsin Issa, 50, is believed to have spent most of his time at the grocer’s headquarters in Leeds.


Asda has 633 stores in the UK and 145,000 staff and the search for a replacement for Burnley, 55, has been going on for more than a year.

At this time, it is understood that the main candidates for the job, including Jason Tarry, boss of Tesco in the UK and Ireland, Stuart Machin, food chief of M&S, Trevor Strain, chief operating officer of Morrisons , and Peter Pritchard, outgoing general manager of Pets at Home, all turned down the job.

According to The temperaturethe role has been described by insiders as “the job no one wants” as Burnley’s successor is expected to play second fiddle to the new owners of the Issa brothers and recently appointed chairman and former M&S boss Lord Stuart Rose.

When Rose joined Asda he said the appointment of a new chief executive was “a priority for the board”, but it is now understood that the existing structure will remain as is for the time being.

After a wave of senior executive departures following the takeover by the Issa brothers and TDR Capital last year, Asda has strengthened its management team in recent months. The grocer poached Nisa boss Ken Towle will lead his store operationsand longtime Tesco manager Kris Comerford has been named commercial director of its food business.

It is understood that these appointments mean that there is now enough grocery expertise on the board to put the search for a chief executive on hold for the time being.

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Amanda J. Marsh