Asda, Britain’s third largest supermarket, has poached a top executive from Sainsbury’s, the UK’s second largest grocer by market share. The problem is that it could be a year before he can start his new job.
Roger Burnley, Retail and Operations Director at Sainsbury’s, has been appointed as Asda’s newest Chief Operating Officer. Because his new employer is a direct competitor to Sainsbury’s, he has left with immediate effect and will be on 12 months’ gardening leave, as per the terms of his contract.
When asked about his year’s leave Asda declined to comment, saying only that Burnley will begin his new role “sometime next year.”
Asda recently revealed its worst trading performance in 16 years. At the time CEO Andy Clarke, whom Burnley worked with during a previous spell at Asda, said that the business had hit its “nadir” although analysts have speculated that Burnley’s return to Asda may make him a prime candidate to replace Clarke.
“Adding Roger to Asda’s executive team further strengthens the board which, I believe, is now one of the most experienced and capable in the industry,” said Clarke.
“These are times of unprecedented turbulence for our industry.”
Whilst Sainsbury’s moves to replace Burnley, CEO Mike Coupe will assume his responsibilities.