The surprise ousting of Somerfield chief executive Steve Back in favour of former Asda boss Paul Mason could be the first senior manager departure of many under the new owners.
Already The Grocer has learned that former Tesco grocery trading director Colin Smith is to become Somerfield’s trading and marketing director - a role that has been vacant since Robin Whitbread’s departure in October 2004. Smith’s role at Tesco has been a mystery since he returned from a fact-
finding mission for potential acquisitions in the US last month.
Analysts said new chairman John Lovering, who was brought in by Violet Acquisitions, would be aggressive in ringing the changes. One said: “Look how quickly Lovering got rid of Steve Back. I’ll be surprised if he is the only casualty. When Paul Mason arrives in March, he will carry out an in-depth review of the senior management.”
Back joined Somerfield in November 2002 as finance director. He moved from Budgens, where he was group finance and logistics director. He became chief executive of Somerfield in July 2004.
Mason held senior management roles in Asda for six years before his appointment as president and chief executive, a role he held for less than a year before being poached by discount clothing chain Matalan as chief executive in 2001. He has been European president of Levi Strauss since January 2004.
Andy Coleman, a senior manager at Tesco, is leaving to become a zone MD at Sainsbury. Coleman will take up his role within the next couple of months.

Drinks group Constellation Europe has announced that Marina Gayan, vice president for sales and marketing at its premium wine division Cellar Door, is leaving next month. Her departure follows the integration of Cellar Door into Constellation Europe’s sales and marketing functions.

Wal-Mart has appointed Julie Roehm as senior VP of marketing communications. She was previously director of marketing communications for the Chrysler Group.

Woolworths has appointed Fru Hazlitt as a non-executive director. Hazlitt is chief executive of Virgin Radio. She was previously MD of Yahoo.
Fiona McLelland
from tesco to JS
gayan moves on
voice of wal-Mart
woolies non-exec