The decision by Philip Clarke to take on responsibility for Tesco’s UK operations, which effectively ended current UK chief executive Richard Brasher’s 26-year career with the retailer, has been hailed as decisive and a demonstration of strong leadership.
Although the move calls into question the retailer’s much lauded succession planning announced two years ago when former CEO Sir Terry Leahy announced his retirement plans, many analysts believe Clarke’s focus must be on the struggling domestic business.
“Clarke is building a new group-wide management structure that reflects more effectively Tesco today and where it wants to go as the world’s third-largest retailer,” said Shore Capital’s Clive Black. “Quite how that new structure works and performs is yet to be measured, but we certainly cannot fault Clarke for demonstrating decisiveness and energy.”
However, Black also cautioned that Clarke’s current role overseeing both the UK and the global Tesco business should be for the short term until a replacement for Brasher as UK CEO emerges.
Clarke’s move comes two months after Tesco issued its first profits warning for 20 years. “I completely understand why Richard has decided to leave and want to thank him for the great contribution he has made over many years,” said Clarke.