Tesco plc announced recently that Dave Lewis formerly of Sky and Unilever will join the Board of Tesco on as Chief Executive Officer in succession to current CEO Philip Clarke.

According to Maria Stokes of Bord Bia’s London Office Mr. Clarke has been accredited with making some necessary investments to improve the customer offer and increase loyalty with customers, which had been particularly hard hit through the difficult trading conditions and the notable success of the discounters. However, this has not improved the fortunes of Tesco in the UK, despite an investment of over £1bn in a 3-year turnaround plan.

She commented that: “Some commentators suggest that, given the scale of Tesco, the challenge to turn the ship quickly was too great to be accomplished to the satisfaction of shareholders and the Tesco board.”

Tesco has been under pressure due to its middle market position, where it has been losing share at both ends to premium and value retailers, in tandem with the slowest grocery market growth in over a decade. Tesco have also been caught with issues regarding the size and location of their super stores at a time when customers are shopping less often in out-of-town super stores.

Stokes said that Mr. Clarke’s successor Dave Lewis, a former Global President of personal care at Unilever and a non-executive director of BSkyB, who will become the first ever outsider to run Tesco.

She said: “It is anticipated that Mr. Clarke will leverage his experience with Unilever to re-establish and re-position the Tesco brand and utilise his customer insights expertise to build the Tesco brand and customer loyalty in a crowded and complex market place.”