Asda pauses CEO search as owners get more involved
Asda — owner of the giant George clothing brand — has reportedly paused its search for a new CEO as one of its new owners is now more heavily involved in its running on a day to day basis.
The company was bought by the billionaire Issa brothers with their private equity partner TDR last year and CEO Roger Burnley left the business in the summer over strategy disagreements.
The company had been seeking a new leader since last March given that Burnley had planned to leave (albeit not as early as he did). But The Times reported on Monday that Mohsin Issa “is said to have been spending the bulk of his time at the grocer’s headquarters in Leeds”.
Any new CEO coming in would have had to run a chain in which the owners had a huge say and the newspaper said it would be difficult to find a respected executive who wouldn’t have ultimate control of strategy.
It also said that seasoned execs from Tesco, M&S, Morrisons and Pet at Home have all turned down the role.
It got its information from “two sources close to the process” who said that the CEO search had been “paused and that the present structure was being left as it was for the time being”. That, of course, leaves the door open for the search to be resumed at some point.
Having appointed a number of executives to its team in recent periods and with ex-Arcadia and M&S chief Stuart Rose as chairman, it’s believed that there’s enough expertise in its core grocery operations and other areas to take the pressure off as far as the need for a CEO is concerned.
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