I've always had a sneaking regard for the ginger ninja, whatever people say about his stewardship of a company The Grocer has in survey after survey revealed to be Britain's Most Depressing Supermarket. I mean, his record speaks for itself.
When he took the Asda helm in March 2005, it was the country's second-largest grocer but had its sights set on moving into smaller formats and non-food, developing the George brand and utilising the Bentonville billions to topple Tesco from top spot.
Just five years later and here we are in, erm, exactly the same place. But it would be cruel and, let's face it, completely out of character for me to criticise. I mean, living in Leeds would sap the life-blood from anyone, even a former gas fitter (hence the flame hair I suspect) from Maggie's home town of Grantham. Perhaps that was why he went into the grocery trade. Certainly aptitude doesn't seem to have been a driving force.
And of course he's had his distractions along the way, not least his duties at MI6, infiltrating foreign supermarkets and bringing back vital intelligence about the price of Spam in Smolensk or implementing truly innovative planograms from Kyrgyzstan that have helped Asda design a hypermarket like a cross between Hampton Court Maze and a Barnsley jumble sale.
But Bondy's a nice bloke and his new part-time job should suit him well. The question is, of course, who should replace him? Walmart likes to find talent from within, but that's a bit of an oxymoron at Asda so I've been studying the field with interest. I've even heard Markup de Price's name mentioned, which would be a bit like putting Miuccia Prada in charge of Poundland.
However, there is one dark horse. A man whose experience, manners and taste make him eminently suitable for a position at the retailing equivalent of a 1970s Butlins, a man who is furthermore likely to be out of work in a month's time.
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