Name: Richard Hodgson
Was: Commercial director at Morrisons
Now: CEO of PizzaExpress
Career background: Hodgson worked at Asda for a number of years in various trading roles, including business unit director for grocery, marketing director and brand director. He left Asda in 2006 to join Waitrose. Initially joining as director of buying, he then became commercial director. In June 2010 it was announced that he would be joining Morrisons to take the commercial director role there. He joined the retailer that October.
What is he doing now? Last November, Morrisons announced lower-than-expected third-quarter results, with like-for-like sales down 2.1%. At the same time, it also announced that Hodgson had left the business. Earlier this month, Hodgson resurfaced as the new CEO of PizzaExpress. When his appointment was announced, Harvey Smith, CEO of parent group Gondola Holdings, said: “Richard brings exceptional experience in the food industry to PizzaExpress at a very exciting time in the development of the business. During his highly successful career, Richard has developed a deep understanding of brand, quality and value, all of which are fundamental to PizzaExpress’s future success.”
Biggest achievements in grocery: Numerous! At Asda, he secured Wayne Rooney to front various promotions. At Waitrose, he developed the supermarket’s own-label value range Essential and his negotiations over price and trading terms led to some suppliers renaming Waitrose ‘Wasda’.
What next? PizzaExpress’s range of supermarket pizzas recently broke into The Grocer’s Britain’s 100 Biggest Brands, so Hodgson still has the opportunity to make his presence felt in grocery at PizzaExpress. But with such a strong career record in the sector, he’s widely predicted to return to his roots in the next few years.