McWilliam returns to Asda as chief financial officer

Walmart’s Leeds-based subsidiary Asda — currently preparing to be taken over by Sainsbury’s — announced on Tuesday that Rob McWilliam will return to the supermarket as chief financial officer (CFO) as Alex Russo leaves the business to take on a new role.

In a separate statement, discount retailer Wilko said Russo would join Wilko as CFO later this year.

In a note to staff, Walmart International CFO Richard Mayfield and Asda CEO Roger Burnley said: “During his four and a half years in role at Asda, Alex has played a key leadership role in steering the business in a challenging market and continued to develop the role and influence of the finance team.

“He has also helped to make the difficult choices to support the improving performance we have seen over the last two years.

“Alex has been discussing his desire to seek a new challenge for more than a year and we’re delighted that he has found the right business opportunity that he has been looking for.

“Alex will leave Asda at the end of July, with Rob McWilliam, Asda’s former finance director returning to the business and taking on the role of chief financial officer.”

McWilliam left Asda in 2012 after 15 years to lead finance and consumables for Amazon UK.

In January 2018 it was announced that McWilliam would be working with Asda again on a consultancy basis, supporting on the development of Asda strategy.

Mayfield and Burnley added in their note: “In the light of Alex’s move, we’ve been looking for a CFO who combines a deep knowledge of UK grocery retail, knowledge of Asda and Walmart relationships, and the skills to support the work we have to do to successfully complete our combination with Sainsbury’s.

“With that in mind, after four years with Amazon UK, leading finance and consumables, followed by 18 months in a variety of non-executive roles, we’re pleased to announce that Rob McWilliam will be re-joining Asda as chief financial officer.

“Rob is no stranger to the Asda/Walmart business having previously clocked up 15 years’ experience in the Asda finance team and, since January, Rob has also been working closely with Roger, supporting on Asda strategy.

“This will allow Rob to hit the ground running.”

John Fallon has been promoted to Asda deputy CFO and will take on a broader leadership role within the business.