The boss of Aldi’s Swiss operation this week took over joint control of Aldi UK and Ireland with Matthew Barnes.

Aldi has confirmed that Roman Heini, formerly country MD for Aldi Suisse, and Barnes, formerly MD of buying for Aldi Australia, will have joint responsibility for Aldi UK and Ireland.

Little is known about Heini in the UK and it is not clear how the duo will divide responsibilities, but the practice of employing joint MDs is not uncommon at Aldi.

Barnes - a former regional director of Aldi in the UK - is understood to have spent the past six months undergoing rigorous training, travelling to each of Aldi’s business units across the globe.

Aldi in the UK and Ireland has been run from its HQ in Germany since the departure of two MDs in quick succession last year. Paul Foley left unexpectedly in August.

He was replaced by Armin Burger, reputed to be Aldi’s biggest global star, who left after three months. Market share slipped from 3.0% to 2.9% in the 12 weeks ending 24 January [Kantar].

Read more
Barnes could share Aldi reins with CEO ‘partner’ (28 November 2009)
Don Pumsey on why Aldi’s Burgered off (28 November 2009)
Aldi names Aussie-based Barnes as new UK MD (16 October 2009)