Asda has announced that its chief operating officer Roger Burnley will take the helm as president and chief executive in the new year.
Burnley, who is also the current deputy chief executive, will succeed Sean Clarke who will resign at the end of this year.
Burnley’s promotion to the top job will be effective from January 1.
While Clarke has only been in his role since July last year, the Big 4 grocer’s US parent company, Walmart, said it had a long-standing plan to Burnley to be chief executive after he rejoined Asda 12 months ago.
“Roger was purposefully brought back to Asda to partner with Sean ahead of the transition to Roger taking up the position of CEO,” Walmart International chief executive Dave Cheesewright said.
“He and Sean have worked as a great team and I’m really confident in Roger’s ability to continue building upon our returning momentum.”
Burnley’s previous stint with Asda was between 1996 and 2002, when he was supply chain director.
Cheesewright said Clarke would “remain engaged” with Walmart once he steps down from Asda, as well as take “some time out”.
Price cuts and store improvements recently helped Asda achieve its first rise in quarterly like-for-like sales in three years.
Despite ending a slump that lasted 11 consecutive quarters, the Big 4 grocer was still seeking to cut costs – which includes hundreds of redundancies and scores of store closures announced in September.
The retailer has struggled to keep its head above water amid increasing pressure from discounters Aldi and Lidl and larger rivals solidifying their offering with convenience and supplier acquisitions.
A return to shop price inflation following the fall in the pound and the appointment of Clarke last year have so far shown marginal signs of improvement for Asda, and analysts expect this trend to continue.
Full year results for 2016 filed at Companies House revealed it was the weakest of the Big 4 in the UK’s supermarket wars, with a sales drop 3.2 per cent to £21.7 billion and pre-tax profits slumping by almost 19 per cent to £791.7 million.
In its second quarter of the current year, the supermarket posted a return a growth with a 1.8 per cent rise in like-for-like sales.