Asda Finance Director Judith McKenna has been appointed the grocer’s new Chief Operating Officer (COO) after the shock exit of Simon King last month.
McKenna has been at the Walmart-owned supermarket for more than 15 years and has led the business’s finance functions for the last decade.
In her new role she will lead Asda’s retail operations, including its stores, distribution network and IT systems, responsibilities previously held by King who quit after just six months in the job.
McKenna joined Asda having worked in financial roles within the brewing and pub retailing industry at Allied Domecq and Carlsberg Tetley, having previously qualified as a chartered accountant with KPMG.
In an announcement to colleagues today, Asda President & CEO Andy Clarke welcomed the new appointment, saying: “In the last year alone, her work leading the Netto acquisition and integration programme which is reinventing our retail future demonstrates that she’s the natural choice for this role.
“She also represents someone who lives Asda’s culture everyday. Her understanding of our business, her passion for people development, her down-to-earth style and ability to get things done, will all contribute to ensuring she is a great COO.”
McKenna has monitored closely the general state of the retail industry in recent years through her position as Chair of the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) Distributive Trade Panel, but it is has not been confirmed whether she will continue with this job.
Speaking last month as the CBI published its Distributive Trades Survey for the start of June, she gave an indication of the tough trading environment retailers are currently experiencing.
“After a year of growth, high street sales volumes fizzled out in June. Consumers are really feeling the pinch as disposable incomes continue to be squeezed by rising prices and weak earnings growth,” she remarked.
“Household budgets are likely to remain tight over the coming months, with inflation edging higher as increases in domestic gas and electricity prices take effect.”