John Scouler, Tesco’s newly appointed UK group commercial director, began putting his stamp on the buying team this week with a raft of appointments to reflect the “new priorities” of the retailer.
Scouler has promoted Richard Marris, currently fresh food category director, to fresh commercial director. Reporting to him will be category directors Derek Lawlor (meat, fish, poultry, eggs), Nick Tatum (bakery), David Cox (dairy) and Kris Comerford (produce).
John Farrell has been promoted to commercial director for packaged foods, beers, wines & spirits. Reporting to him will be Ashwin Prasad (household), William Linnane (impulse) and David McKnight (grocery), while Dan Jago will be responsible for UK and group wine.
The shake-up also sees Barney Burgess move from Tesco.com to lead the convenience & emerging markets division, while Claire Peters will move from Extra format manager to head up Health & beauty.
Scouler took over as UK commercial director in charge of fresh food & grocery as former fresh foods boss Andrew Yaxley moved to an as yet unspecified general management role last month. A former Kraft Foods man, Scouler joined the Tesco board alongside Yaxley just over a year ago, working under then UK CEO Richard Brasher.
Industry insiders said the removal of Yaxley was indicative of a less “old school” sales approach from Tesco and an admission it was still unhappy with how its Big Price Drop pricing strategy was working.
“Scouler is known as a persuasive operator with a good understanding of the supplier side,” said one sales director. “He’s very determined on issues such as simple and consistent pricing.” Another added: “The promotions for Marris and Farrell will be well received in the industry.”