Clarke out as Tesco turns to outsider

Clarke out as Tesco turns to outsiderTesco boss Philip Clarke has finally paid the price for his failed turnaround plan, after being ousted and replaced by top Unilever man Dave Lewis – the first time Tesco has appointed an outsider to the role.
The move comes as the retailer has announced its second profit warning in two years, saying current trading conditions had been “more challenging” than anticipated. It added that sales and trading profit for the first half of the year were “somewhat below expectations”.
Clarke has had a torrid time at Tesco ever since he succeeded Terry Leahy in 2011, and issued its first profits warning for 20 years just 18 months later. As far back as October commentators were saying time was running out for Clarke as the company continued to struggle despite a £1bn investment in the turnaround plan.
Some commentators claimed that the retailer was suffering from the “Manchester United effect”, referring to the ills of David Moyes after succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson. In June this year, Clarke insisted that he was “not going anywhere” after a third quarter of falling sales; he will step down in October.
Lewis joined Unilever in 1987, starting as a UCMDS trainee for Lever Brothers, based in Kingston, Surrey. During his first nine years, he held a variety of marketing and customer management roles. He became the marketing operations manager in 1993.
In 1996, he moved to South America, to be marketing director of River Plate (Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay). By 1999, where he was managing director of Unilever Indonesia’s personal care business and regional innovation leader for personal care South East Asia.
Lewis then took the Advanced Management Programme at Harvard University and held roles in Central and Eastern Europe, the UK and the Americas. He has been president of personal care since 2011. His portfolio of brands includes Lynx, Vaseline, Lifebuoy, Signal toothpaste, TRESemmé shampoo and Dove, and Lewis was behind the brand’s “Love your body” advertising campaign.
In the statement announcing his departure, Clarke said: “Having taken the business through the huge challenges of the last few years, I think this is the right moment to hand over responsibility.”

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