After only few months into a period in which he was supposed to hold down the role of chief executive officer for a year, Roger Burnley has stepped down from Asda.
The supermarket chain has yet to find a replacement, but Burnley’s exit was agreed on by both sides, according to the company’s owners Mohsin Issa and Zuber Issa and TDR Capital, a private equity firm.
“We have mutually agreed with Roger that now is the right time for him to step down from the business following a transition period under our ownership,” the owners said in a joint statement. “We would like to thank Roger for his leadership and contribution during his time with the business, particularly during the last year.”
Burnley, 56, will be paid for the remaining six months, according to a report from Reuters.
The Issa Brothers, the CEOs of the EG Group, and TDR had finalized a deal in February to purchase Asda, Walmart’s wholly-owned UK business, for an enterprise value of £6.8 billion, on a debt-free and cash-free basis. Burnley was supposed to be a stopgap for 12 months to find a CEO, but the parting ends that early.
There have been rumors that three COOs –Anthony Hemmerdinger at Asda, Trevor Strain at Morrison’s, and Stuart Machin at M&S Food – and Jo Whitfield, head of food at Co-Op, might be in line to succeed Burnley.
Either way, the bosses say they’ll be working on completing their transition, making additional appointments and executing their strategic vision.
“The Asda business has proven its resilience over the last eighteen months and has a strong platform in place for further innovation and growth,” they said. “We have a great team of more than 140,000 colleagues at Asda, and we look forward to supporting all of them to deliver for our customers in the second half of the year.”
Asda has been fighting it out for second place in the UK in market share with Sainsbury’s, which both trail Tesco, with discounters making up ground on the Big Four.