Retail veteran Ian McLeod could be the next Asda CEO

A former boss of Halfords and Australian grocery giant Coles has emerged as a candidate for the vacant chief executive position as Asda. According to The Sunday Times, retail veteran Ian McLeod could be returning to Asda as its leader under new owners.

·        Ian McLeod could be returning to Asda as its leader under new owners, the Issa brothers and TDR Capital

·        He is a former boss of Halfords, Australian grocery giant Coles, and current CEO of Asian retailer DFI

·        The Issa brothers acquired Asda for GBP 6.8 billion this year with the private equity firm TDR Capital

By guest author Elias Jahshan from the Retail Gazette

A former boss of Halfords and Australian grocery giant Coles has emerged as a candidate for the vacant chief executive position as Asda.

Captions courtesy by the Retail Gazette

According to The Sunday Times, retail veteran Ian McLeod could be returning to Asda as its leader under new owners, the Issa brothers and TDR Capital, after Roger Burnley left the post earlier this month.

He had previously been part of the team that saw Asda avoid bankruptcy and become part of the Walmart empire after GBP 6.7 billion sale in the 1990s.

McLeod is also a former boss of Halfords and moved to Australia in 2008 to run Coles, one of the country’s two major supermarket chains.

McLeod is currently chief executive of Dairy Farm International (DFI), an Asian retailer with store portfolio of 10,000 sites, including supermarkets and health and beauty fascias.

The Sunday Times reported that a search for a new Asda chief executive has become a “priority” for the Issa brothers since Burnley’s earlier-than-expected departure.

Burnley announced plans to step down as chief executive in March but originally said he intended to stay at Asda until 2022 when a successor is in place.

The Big 4 grocer confirmed earlier this month that he has now left his role after a “transition period” under the retail giant’s new owners.

M&S Food chief Stuart Machin and Morrisons’ chief operating officer Trevor Strain have been also linked with taking the chief executive role after Burnley.

Morrisons chief executive David Potts, Tesco’s UK boss Jason Tarry and Booker’s Andrew Yaxley were also reportedly approached for the role, but it is unlikely they would emerge as candidates.

Sources speaking to The Sunday Times say that a new Asda chief executive could be confirmed by the end of August.

The Issa brothers have also reportedly approach Fat Face chief executive Liz Evans to run Asda’s fashion label, George.

Evans has led Fat Face since 2018 and could replace George’s previous director Steph Strike who resigned earlier this year.

Evans also previously ran the Oasis and Warehouse chains and had several roles at Marks & Spencer.

The billionaire Issa brothers, who are behind forecourt giant EG Group, and private equity backer TDR Capital completed their £6.8 billion acquisition of Asda from Walmart earlier this year.

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