Name: David Wild
Was: part of Sir Terry Leahy dream team at Tesco before he decamped to Walmart where he was senior VP of new business development
Now: CEO for Halfords
Years spent in grocery: 23
Career background: As trading director for produce at Tesco in the late 1980s, Wild was part of the team that helped it reel in Sainsbury’s. He went on to spearhead Tesco’s supply chain before becoming CEO of Tesco’s Central European division, leading its successful march into Hungary and Poland. Wild then joined arch-rival Walmart, taking on its German operation, which failed to crack the market. He went on to help Walmart launch the small-format grocery store concept Marketside.
What was your biggest achievement in grocery? “I’d say there were two. The first was helping to turn around Tesco’s fruit and veg operation in the late ‘80s. I was working for Sir Terry alongside the likes of Tim Mason and Richard Brasher. I’m also proud to have led Tesco into Central Europe.”
What challenges have there been at Halfords? “The internet has caused huge change for businesses and the challenge has been to see it as an opportunity while it’s very tempting to see it mostly as a threat. There’s been a relentless effort to do more in store for customers. We’ve reached base camp but there’s a long way to go.”
How closely will you be following the aftermath of Tesco’s results this week? “I’ll be on holiday in Cornwall, but I think it’s going to be a seismic week – not just for Tesco, but for retail as a whole. The whole situation has become a soap opera about the people involved, but the important thing is the strategy they come up with.”
Where are they now? Where are you now? Are you searching for a former colleague who you’d love to get in contact with again, or would you like to appear in this column? Contact Beth Phillips on beth.phillips@thegrocer. co.uk or 01293 610227.