Tesco CEO Dave Lewis announces surprise departure

Mark Johnson's picture

UK supermarket group Tesco has surprised the stock market by announcing that Chief Executive David Lewis is to leave the company after five years at the helm of the retail brand.

Lewis said the decision to step down was a perosnal one and that he will leave the company in the summer of 2020.

The company made the announcement along with its half time results, which showed a 6.7% rise in profits to £494m.

"I believe the tenure of a chief executive should be a finite one and that now is the right time to pass the the baton”, Lewis said. “The turnaround is complete, we have delivered all the metrics we set ourselves."

“The leadership team is very strong, our strategy is clear and it is delivering. The Tesco brand is stronger and customer satisfaction is the highest it has been for many years.  

“Colleagues are doing an extraordinary job and their expertise shows in every store and channel every day.”

Succession

Tesco said Lewis will be replaced by Ken Murphy, who the firm described as “unquestionably, a seasoned, growth-orientated business leader”, with “deep commercial, marketing and brand experience within retail and wholesale businesses, first with Alliance Unichem, and then with Boots”. 

Paying tribute to Lewis’ management of a difficult brand and economic turnaround of the retail giant, following an accounting scandal in 2014, Tesco Chairman John Allan said: “Dave has done an outstanding job in rebuilding Tesco since 2014 and he continues to have unwavering support from the Board.  

“Some time ago, however, he indicated to me that he was considering the best time to hand over to a successor.  

“His openness allowed me to begin a thorough and orderly process to identify a potential candidate to replace him.

Despite the rise in Tesco’s profits, news of Lewis’ departure dragged down the retailer’s shares by 0.9% to £2.37 in early trading. 

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