Asda makes big changes to executive team

Leeds-based supermarket giant Asda has announced major changes to its executive leadership team.

Ken Towle of Nisa will join Asda’s executive leadership team later in the year as retail director – with responsibility for all Asda’s stores.

Derek Lawlor, who has led Asda’s commercial team since 2019, has decided to leave the business after six years.

Kris Comerford will join Asda from Tesco in late summer of 2022 as Chief Commercial Officer, Food.

Simon Gregg, who currently leads Asda’s online operation, is also joining the executive leadership team.

Liz Evans joined the executive leadership team this week as MD, George, leading Asda’s fashion and GM business.

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. in 2021.

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

Mohsin and Zuber Issa said: “Today we are confirming changes to the leadership of our business as we set ourselves up for the future.

“Regretfully, Derek Lawlor has decided to leave the business after six years, and he goes with our best wishes and thanks for the future.

“He has made a real and tangible difference to our business and we thank him for all he has done.

“The appointment of Ken Towel, Kris Comerford and Simon Gregg to our leadership team will bring a great combination of experience and new thinking to our table.

“Ken’s considerable expertise as a Retail and Wholesale CEO with many years’ experience in some of the largest and most complex businesses, both in the UK and internationally, make him the right person to lead our retail operations team.

“Kris’ breadth of experience will be invaluable for us as we build on our recent successes and continue our drive to become a market leader in food …

“Ken Towle joins Asda from Nisa, which is part of the Co-op Group, and where has held responsibility for supplying over 4,000 stores across Great Britain and Ireland as CEO since 2018.

“Prior to leading Nisa, Ken spent 30 years with Tesco, where he worked in a variety of roles, including Stores Director, Operations Director for Home Office, CEO for China and finally MD for Central Europe, Ireland and Turkey as part of the Tesco Exec team.”

Comerford will join Asda from Tesco, where he has most recently held the role of UK Commercial Director, Packaged Foods, Fuel and Tobacco.

Asda chairman Stuart Rose said: “I would like to thank Derek for his immense contribution to Asda over the past six years and wish him well for the future.

“I am delighted that Ken, Kris and Simon are joining the leadership team at Asda, where their experience and passion for retail will further strengthen our great team as we continue to build on Asda’s long heritage of delivering affordable quality and championing our customers.”

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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.