Name: Tony DeNunzio
Was: President and CEO of Asda
Now: Chairman of Maxeda
Career background: DeNunzio started his grocery career as a management accountant for Unilever-owned margarine manufacturer Van Den Berghs & Jurgens. He then held financial roles at both L’Oréal and PepsiCo before joining Asda in January 1994 as retail finance director. He was appointed CFO in September 2001, and a year later took the top job as president and CEO. He stepped down in March 2005.
What is he doing now? DeNunzio now holds a number of chairmanships. He was appointed executive chairman of Dutch non-food retailer Maxeda in 2005 and is also chairman of Pets At Home, chairman of the advisory board at Manchester Business School and a non-executive director at Alliance Boots. He is also a senior advisor to KKR on retail matters.
Biggest achievements in grocery: DeNunzio’s legacy was overtaking Sainsbury’s to put Asda into the number two spot in grocery. He was awarded a CBE in the 2005 New Year’s Honours List for services to the retail industry. It came just months after he won The Grocer Cup for Outstanding Business Achievement.
Asda v Tesco: DeNunzio caused a stir in 2004 when he admitted to The Grocer that Tesco’s position in food was unassailable because major acquisitions had been ruled out for the top players and opportunities to build large stores were drying up. “We do not have a specific objective to be the number one in food in the UK,” he said at the time. “Our aim is to be the best business we can.”
What next? Highly influential and one of the most respected figures in retailing, DeNunzio may not be involved full-time in grocery, but his continuing work in wider retailing means he’s never that far away.