tony baines aldi

Veteran Aldi executive Tony Baines is to retire at the end of next year.

Baines, Aldi UK managing director of corporate buying, has spent 22-years with the retailer and his role will be taken up by group buying director Julie Ashfield.

He joined the discounter shortly after it debuted in the UK and has been a key figure in driving Aldi’s growth through the establishment of its buying function and building supplier relationships.

“We wish Tony a happy and prosperous retirement, and are confident that Julie will continue to build on the fantastic relationships that Tony has established with both our suppliers and our customers,” said Aldi UK and Ireland CEO Matthew Barnes.

“Tony has played a key role in our business for over 22 years. With more than half of our total sales generated from British-sourced products, and suppliers consistently voting Aldi the best supermarket to do business with, his approach has been hugely influential in enabling us to deliver what our customers want - outstanding quality products at unbeatable prices.”

Baines added: “Helping to develop Aldi into a key player in UK grocery has been a career highlight for me and I’m immensely proud to have worked with some of the most dynamic and committed people in the industry. I am sure that the business will continue to grow in the UK, and I wish Julie and the buying team every success in the future.”

Ashfield is a fellow Aldi stalwart having spent her entire career with the retailer since joining in 1999 as an area manager.

In her new role, Ashfield will oversee Aldi’s UK buying function and will have responsibility for sourcing all food and non-food products. During the last eight years as group buying director, she has had responsibility for Aldi’s chilled range.

“I look forward to working alongside Tony during the coming year and, from 2018, leading the UK buying department to build on our success as the UK’s fastest growing supermarket retailer,” she said. “I will ensure our people, our customers and our suppliers remain at the heart of everything we do and that Aldi continues to offer award-winning quality products at the lowest prices in grocery.”