Name: Ian Charter MacLaurin, Baron MacLaurin of Knebworth
Was: CEO of Tesco
Now: Chairman of eReceipts
Years in grocery: 38
Career background: Lord MacLaurin is a Tesco legend, a lifer who spent 38 years at the company. Following his departure he became chairman of both Vodafone and the England and Wales Cricket Board.
At Tesco: Lord MacLaurin started at Tesco as a management trainee in 1959 and rapidly moved up through the ranks, holding a number of senior positions, before joining the retailer’s board in 1970. He became managing director in 1973, deputy chairman in 1983 and chairman in 1985. He retired in 1997.
What was his biggest achievement there? Take your pick. MacLaurin is widely credited with transforming Tesco from high street player to UK giant, including overtaking Sainsbury’s to become the number-one supermarket in the UK. He also mentored, and ultimately appointed, successor Sir Terry Leahy, which he subsequently referred to as the “most important act” of his tenure, as Sir Terry then took Tesco global. (But see below.)
What is he doing now? Lord MacLaurin is planning to eliminate paper from the supermarket till as chairman of eReceipts. High-profile customers so far include Booths. He also hit the headlines in June when he addressed the Tesco board of directors from the floor at the retailer’s agm to lament the “very sad” legacy left behind by Sir Terry, highlighting the “enormous writedowns” and “the situation in America”. However, he was positive about the plans revealed for the subsequent turnaround by chief executive Philip Clarke, urging those present to give “Philip and the team a lot of time. They’ll do it.”