Sir Terry Leahy officially hands over the Tesco leadership to Philip Clarke today after 14 years as CEO of the company.
Under Leahy’s stewardship Tesco has grown to become the dominant player in the UK grocery sector, with the most recent Kantar Worldpanel data showing that the business holds a 30.3 per cent share of the market.
Commenting last summer, when news of his departure was announced, Sir Terry said there was “no better job than leading Tesco” and revealed that he will remain a shareholder in the company as well as its “biggest supporter”.
During his spell as CEO, Tesco grew significantly and, somewhat fittingly, the company announced record profits of £3.4 billion for the 2009/10 financial year just months before his retirement plans were revealed.
In the last 14 years there has been an impressive level of international expansion at Tesco, resulting in around half of the retailer’s property portfolio now residing overseas, while the introduction of hundreds of UK convenience stores under Leahy’s leadership has helped transform the way Britons shop.
Sir Terry, who joined the company at the age of 23 and held various marketing roles, was only the fifth CEO of Tesco since the company was founded by Jack Cohen in 1919 as a market stall in east London. The sixth boss, Philip Clarke, has a lot to live up to.
Clarke, who until now has been running Tesco’s international arm, recently announced the new look team that he hopes will move Tesco forward under his leadership, and judging by the company’s recent overseas expansion there will be strong growth in Asian markets over the next few years.
Meanwhile an eight-strong senior management team for the company’s British arm will report to UK CEO Richard Brasher, although Tesco.com boss Laura Wade-Gery surprisingly jumped ship last month to join Marks & Spencer as Executive Director of Multichannel E-commerce.
Leahy said of his successor: “I have worked with Phil at Tesco for many years and I am confident he has all the necessary talent, energy and experience to take the group forward.
“He will be supported by an outstanding team of senior executives who together represent one of the strongest leadership teams in the world of retailing.”