Tesco’s longtime chief executive Sir Terry Leahy is to retire from the supermarket chain in March.
The news was announced this morning, with Tesco revealing that Philip Clarke, who has headed up the grocery giant’s IT and international operations, has been lined up as Leahy’s successor.
The announcement has surprised the media and markets, with Sir Terry Leahy having been credited with expanding Tesco beyond the confines of the traditional grocery sector and into non-food markets such as consumer electronics and PC/IT products.
“Terry has made an unrivalled contribution over a prolonged period,” said chairman David Reid. “He is undoubtedly one of the leading businessmen of his generation. He has put in place a strategy which can secure the progress of Tesco for years to come.”
Sir Terry Leahy added: “When I became CEO I had a plan to build Tesco around its customers, to make it number one in the UK and to find new long term growth in non-food, in services and in international expansion. I wanted to develop a purpose and values that could sustain Tesco through its challenges and encourage and grow future leaders.
“It has taken 15 years, but that strategy has become a firm reality now and so I feel my work is almost complete.”