Former Asda President & CEO Tony De Nunzio has been appointed to the role of Senior Adviser at global investment firm KKR, the private equity company which owns Boots UK parent firm Alliance Boots.
The experienced retail professional, who currently holds a non-executive position at Alliance Boots and fulfils similar roles at pet products specialist Pets at Home and Dutch retailer Maxeda, will offer KKR’s senior management guidance on the firm’s existing and prospective investments.
De Nunzio’s new role will also involve sitting on the business’s private equity portfolio management committee, which interacts with company management and monitors the entire KKR private equity investment portfolio.
It is not yet clear if KKR, which also owns Pets at Home after completing a £950 million deal at the start of 2010, is eying further acquisitions in the retail sector but research released by Grant Thornton this week indicated that the industry is still viewed by private equity firms as a highly popular investment opportunity.
And in the week that Labour Party leader Ed Miliband criticised the role private equity firms play in British business, using his party conference to describe them as “asset strippers”, the new KKR employee highlighted the value of such organisations.
“KKR’s spirit of partnership, commitment to driving operational value within its portfolio companies, and extensive network of resources are unique,” he explained.
“Maxeda is a textbook example of how private equity can help build better businesses, and I look forward to applying my management and retail experience as a Senior Adviser to support the firm’s other investments.”
De Nunzio left Asda in 2005 after 12 years at the grocer, during which time the business was acquired by US retailing giant Walmart.
He helped Asda overtake Sainsbury’s in terms of British grocery market share, and played a major part in the business establishing itself as Tesco’s main rival in the UK.
Commenting on the ex-Asda boss’s career to date, Head of KKR’s European operations Johannes Huth said: “We have time and again been impressed by his profound financial and operational knowledge and his understanding of how to achieve results within complex, global companies.
“We are very pleased he will bring his expertise to bear on our current and prospective investments as a Senior Adviser to the firm.”