Asda appoints ex-M&S CEO Stuart Rose as chairman

Stuart Rose

Leeds-based supermarket giant Asda announced it appointed former Marks & Spencer CEO Stuart Rose as chairman and Alison Carnwath as a non-executive director, effective December 1.

Asda said the appointments “significantly strengthen the Asda board and demonstrate a clear commitment to strong governance of the business by its owners, the Issa brothers and TDR Capital LLP.”

Blackburn-based billionaires the Issa brothers and private equity firm TDR Capital completed the £6.8 billion acquisition of a majority ownership stake in Asda from Walmart Inc. earlier this year.

Walmart retains an equity investment in Asda, with an ongoing commercial relationship and a seat on the board.

The Issa brothers made their fortune building up fuel retailer EG Group. Rose is also chairman of EG Group, while Carnwath is an EG director and leads its audit committee.

Asda said: “Lord Rose brings a wealth of retail and business experience, having been a chair, board director and chief executive of many of the UK’s biggest retailers, including Marks & Spencer, which he joined as a management trainee in 1972 and returned in 2004 as CEO and then went on to become executive chairman.

“Lord Rose also held executive roles at the Burton Group, Argos, Booker and Arcadia.

“His non-executive career has spanned roles at Woolworth Holdings SA and more recently Ocado, where he spent seven years as chairman between 2013-20.

“Lord Rose is currently chairman of Zenith Automotive and the EG Group.

“Meanwhile, Dame Alison has a strong track record as a non-executive director of some of the UK’s leading companies.

“She qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Peat Marwick Mitchell (now KPMG) and then worked in corporate finance for Lloyds and J. Henry Schroder Wagg in New York.

“She has held a number of board positions at Barclays, the Man Group, BP and Zurich Insurance Group and has also been chair of Vitec and Land Securities Group.

“Earlier this year, Dame Alison was appointed to the EG Group board and leads its audit committee.

“As chair, Lord Rose will be responsible for leading the Asda Group Board, which comprises co-owners of Asda Mohsin and Zuber Issa, Manjit Dale and Gary Lindsay of TDR Capital Ltd, Chris Nicholas, Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer, Walmart U.S, and Dame Alison.

“The new appointments significantly strengthen the Asda board and demonstrate a clear commitment to strong governance of the business by its owners, the Issa brothers and TDR Capital LLP.”

Rose said: “I am delighted to be appointed chair of Asda, one of the biggest and best retail businesses in Britain.

“I am joining the board at a hugely exciting time, as Asda builds on the incredible resilience it has demonstrated during the pandemic and embarks on the next chapter of its evolution and growth under new ownership.

“I am pleased to be joined on the board by Dame Alison, who brings rigour and focus to everything she does – and look forward to confirming further non-executive appointments to our board in the near future.

“We are both excited at the prospect of working with Mohsin and Zuber and the wider Asda team as they look to build on Asda’s strong heritage of delivering affordable quality across food, fashion and general merchandise – and of championing customers at every turn.

“The process to appoint a new chief executive officer for Asda, who has the vision to take this great business forward over the coming years, is a priority for the board and we will be supporting the shareholders in this process.”

Mohsin and Zuber Issa added: “We are pleased to have Lord Rose and Dame Alison join the board of Asda.

“They have already provided invaluable support and wisdom to the board of EG Group, and we know their insight and experience will add huge value at Asda too.

“We are committed to ensuring this iconic business has the right governance and management framework in place to set it up for long-term success.

“The appointment of Lord Rose and Dame Alison mark an important step forward in this ongoing process and we plan to appoint further independent non-executive directors in due course.”

About the Author

Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.