With chief marketing officer Rick Bendel turning his attention exclusively to Walmart - chief marketing officer for China Stephen Smith replaces him in the UK from May - this week’s announcement marks a complete transformation in Asda’s senior team since CEO Andy Clarke replaced Andy Bond in May 2010.
Clarke’s first move was to bring in Sam’s Club SVP Charles Redfield in August 2010 as chief merchandising officer, after Darren Blackhurst quit on his appointment.
Executive development director Doug Gurr announced his departure four months later. His role was split between new COO Simon King and CFO Judith McKenna.
But in June 2011 King left by ‘mutual consent’ after only six months. Asda’s marketing director Jon Owen also quit that month after a year.
On King’s departure, McKenna was preferred to Asda’s retail operations director Mark Ibbotson or operations director Glenn Bowles as Clarke’s COO. She immediately set about implementing a new operating structure, with Bowles as MD of Asda’s supermarkets and Living format, and Ibbotson handed a role as central retail director. With Bendel out the way, McKenna’s position as second in command at Asda has further strengthened.
Last month, Asda unveiled former Waitrose finance director Richard Mayfield as CFO. Acting CFO Rob McWilliam will become strategy director for Walmart’s newly created EMEA regional management team.
Clarke himself has a new boss, too: former Asda COO David Cheesewright, who moved to Canada in 2008, has also been running Walmart’s EMEA ops since September.
Investec analyst Dave McCarthy said the lengthy reshuffle was “a sign of strength, not problems”.