darren blackhurst morrisons

Darren Blackhurst

Morrisons has announced a series of management changes as part of CEO Rami Baitiéh’s plans to shape the “next chapter” at the supermarket.

The moves see Darren Blackhurst return to Morrisons to become interim chief customer and marketing officer.

He will be covering for Rachel Eyre, who is going on maternity leave in the spring.

Blackhurst will rejoin Morrisons in March having worked at Coles in Australia, where he was most recently head of its liquor business.

Blackhurst left Morrisons in 2019, having been group commercial director and then given a special projects role, reporting to Morrisons CEO David Potts, after his replacement by Trevor Strain.

He joined Morrisons in 2015 from B&Q, where he had been commercial director. Before that he had spells as Matalan CEO and group trading director at Asda.

Baitiéh’s shake-up also sees Andrew Thornber, who leads Morrisons’ recently rebranded manufacturing division Myton Food Group, appointed to the executive committee with immediate effect.

Meanwhile, Di Walker has been appointed non-executive chair of Myton Food Group. Currently an advisor, she is group CEO of the Eight Fifty Food Group and has had previous leadership roles with Karro Foods and Greencore plc.

Joseph Sutton, convenience, online & wholesale director, has also been appointed to the executive committee whilst Peter Laflin has been appointed as data services director, as Morrisons focuses on being a data-driven and increasingly digital company.

The latest moves follow the departure of Morrisons retail director David Lepley earlier this month.

Rachel Eyre_1

Rachel Eyre

“We wish Rachel all the best for her maternity leave and look forward to welcoming Darren Blackhurst while she is off,” said Baitiéh.

“Darren has a wealth of retail experience and his leadership on price and customer insights are well known to Morrisons from his previous very successful stint with us. Darren’s first priorities will be Morrisons’ pricing strategy, driving the trade agenda and further developing the promising Morrisons Media Group.

“I am confident he will make a tangible impact both in his interim role as chief customer and marketing officer and more widely across the business in his role on the executive committee.

“Many congratulations to Andrew Thornber and Joseph Sutton, whose promotions to the executive committee reflect their significant contribution to Morrisons and the important part they, and the businesses they lead, have to play in our next chapter.

“Peter’s promotion also reinforces our ambition of being an increasingly data and digitally-driven company.

“Di Walker has been a valued and effective advisor to Myton Food Group recently and I’m sure she will bring even more to the business as chair. As quality and provenance become ever more important in British food supply, developing our food manufacturing operation further will become an even more powerful competitive advantage in bringing great-quality food at attractive prices to our customers. I wish Di a very warm welcome to the new role.”