Matthew Barnes

Aldi’s Barnes to take over for Tarry in prominent leadership role at Tesco

Produce Business report

After 33 years at the helm of the UK’s most successful supermarket chain, Jason Tarry has decided to step down.

The Tesco chief executive said he would leave the business to pursue other interests. Among his many achievements, he helped keep the retail chain stable throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Little could I have imagined 33 years ago, the journey I would go on with Tesco. My life in Tesco has been a wonderful experience,” Tarry said. “This decision was not made easily but this is the right time for me to move on. I am grateful to my amazing colleagues and the lifelong friends I have made here. I will continue to give my all to being UK CEO until March, and my determination that we give our customers the best Christmas is heightened knowing that this will be my last as a Tesco colleague.”

Interestingly, an executive from another retail chain that has been rising up the charts in the UK, is taking his place. Matthew Barnes, a senior leader at Aldi in its international businesses focused on global sourcing, will now head up the traditional grocer.

“I believe the combination of Matthew’s extensive retail experience, competitive spirit and challenger mindset will help us continue to win in the UK market and evolve our thinking about what customers will want from Tesco in the future,” Tesco group CEO Ken Murphy said. “I’d like to thank Jason for all the support he has given to creating a smooth transition plan.”

Barnes, coming from one of the most highly respected chains and one that has taken the UK market by storm in the past decade with its deep discounting, is thrilled to be moving into the new position.

“I have always had the highest respect for Tesco, and I’m really excited to be joining the team,” he said. “It is an honour to be appointed as UK CEO. I come to this role with a real sense of determination to ensure that we build on the progress of the last number of years and deliver for our customers and colleagues.”

While Aldi has surged into fourth in the UK in market share, stealing points from just about every other retailer except for Lidl, Tesco has remained a constant in the No. 1 spot, through not without concern. It has continually launched efforts to remain affordable, though its average baskets are often more expensive than Aldi. Still, Tesco’s brand has maintained a very loyal base of shoppers. Credit Tarry in part with helping Tesco remain strong.

“Jason has made an immense contribution to our business,” Murphy said. “Under his leadership, Tesco today is the most competitive we have ever been, built on exceptionally strong foundations of doing the right thing for our customers and colleagues.”



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