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Dave Lewis hits the top spot of The Grocer’s Power List 2017. Did we get it right?

The Grocer Power List for 2017 was revealed last Friday. It instantly raised questions and generated debate, including why the print edition erroneously captioned Jamie Oliver as Tesco CEO. He’s not, obviously. Not yet. The real Tesco CEO is this year’s number one, Dave Lewis.

Why? Two recent power moves stick in the memory. Marmitegate pitched Tesco against Unilever, two giants battling away, a little like Godzilla vs King Kong if both of them worked in grocery.

Anyway, it wasn’t just the way Lewis knocked Unilever out but the unruffled manner in which he did it, publicly at least. As JG Holland said: “Calmness is the cradle of power.”

Then Lewis bought Booker. It’s a deal full of complexities, but one that stands to make Tesco, and therefore Lewis, more powerful on several fronts (see The Big 30 special this weekend for a detailed analysis of what it means for Tesco and the future of wholesale in general). And these are just two of the ways Lewis has made tangible progress at Tesco in his time at the top.

But the Power List is about more than just who is the latest Number One. The rest of the top five are always interesting. Aldi CEO Matthew Barnes remains at number two, a reflection of Aldi’s continued expansion, of both store numbers and market share, and its agenda-setting price file, which continues to weaken rivals.

New arrivals to the top five include Sainsbury’s CEO Mike Coupe, whose biggest recent power play was splashing out £1.5bn on Argos. And David Potts, who has strategically aligned Morrisons with powerhouse Amazon. Like Lewis, Potts has also made solid headway into the troubles affecting his charge over the last few years by repairing the core business. As Balzac said: “Power is not revealed by striking hard or often, but by striking true.”

Keep reading down the list for more familiar names and faces. Asda CEO Sean Clarke at 14. Lidl UK MD Christian Hartnagel at 17. Waitrose MD Rob Collins at 22. Ranjit Singh, 2 Sisters CEO, at 24. And Conviviality CEO Diana Hunter at 38. Disagree with any of those positions? Of course you do. That’s all part of the fun.

It would be stranger if you didn’t have an opinion on who should be moving up and down the list – and there was plenty of discussion over the final ranking for 2017.

At some point a running order had to be finalised. But that doesn’t mean the debate can’t continue. So if you do have an opinion let us know in the comments, by tweeting us @thegrocer or via email to letters@thegrocer.co.uk

 Video: How Dave Lewis topped The Grocer’s Power List 2017