Morrisons hires ex-Carrefour boss Baitiéh as CEO

Rami Baitiéh

Bradford-based supermarket giant Morrisons announced that Rami Baitiéh, formerly the chief executive of Carrefour France, has been appointed as its new CEO.

Baitiéh will succeed David Potts, who has been Morrisons CEO for nine years.

Baitiéh will take up the role in November and will work closely with Potts to ensure a smooth handover period.

US private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) completed a £7 billion takeover of Morrisons last year.

Baitiéh said: “Morrisons holds a special place for shoppers across the UK, and I am honoured to be joining the business to help build on the strong links the company has with its loyal customers and the communities where it operates.

“As a manufacturer, wholesaler and seller of food, Morrisons is uniquely positioned to grow in the coming years while remaining deeply focused on customer satisfaction.

“I also want to acknowledge the talented and hard-working members of the Morrisons team that continue to make Morrisons an employer of choice in Britain.

“Our people are our great strength and I see tremendous opportunity for team development in the coming months and years.

“I look forward to building on David’s strong legacy of always putting shoppers first and thank him for his help in the transition.”

Terry Leahy, senior advisor at CD&R, said: “Rami is an exceptionally talented and highly capable leader with a strong track record of driving performance wherever he has been posted.

“Rami will bring energy, innovation, and dedication to expanding Morrisons loyalty programmes and digital reach, while ensuring that the company’s long legacy of quality, and mission to deliver value for shoppers is preserved.

“I also want to thank David for his nine years of dedicated service to Morrisons and our customers. This is a bittersweet farewell for me because I have known and worked with David for decades, but I will be happy to see the start of his next adventure.

“David skilfully led the renewal of the Morrisons brand as well as navigating several twists and turns during his tenure, including the COVID pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis, but he leaves the company poised for growth.

“He spearheaded Morrisons acquisition and integration of McColl’s, expanding the business’s footprint into convenience, and recently re-launched the successful Morrisons More Card loyalty programme. We are grateful for his extraordinary service and wish him all the best.”

Potts said: “Serving as Morrisons chief executive for the last nine years has been the privilege of my working life.

“There have been so many highlights but the way all our colleagues rose to the immense challenge of the Covid pandemic, fed the nation and made sure no-one was left behind will stay with me forever.

“Rami is joining a very special company with talented and dedicated colleagues and a unique position in British grocery, food making and farming.

“The Q3 results today show that the business is once again on a steady growth path with plenty of opportunities ahead and I’m full of confidence about its future.

“In my remaining time as CEO, I will be working hard to prepare for the handover, and I look forward to giving Rami all the assistance and advice that he needs during the transition.

“Terry and I have had several conversations about succession since the buyout in 2021.

“We had a clear understanding that I was prepared to devote several more years to Morrisons if that was required, but that if an outstanding successor was identified who could lead Morrisons for the long term, then I would step down.

“After a reasonable shift on the frontline of British grocery retailing, I’m looking forward to a short break with my family and will then look for further ways to contribute to business and to the UK’s economic recovery from the pandemic.

“I will continue to be an investor, supporter, and advocate for Morrisons and look forward to watching its continued progress and development for many years to come.”

The appointment came on the day that Morrisons updated investors on trading for its third quarter  — the 13 weeks ending July 2023 — reporting a fifth consecutive quarter of like for like sales improvement.

Third quarter group like-for-like (LFL) sales ex-fuel/ex-VAT were up 2.9% (2021/22: down by 3.1%).

Total sales ex-fuel rose 3.1% to £3.8 billion.

A further 122 Morrisons Daily convenience stores were added during the quarter, with a further 89 in Q4 to date, taking the current total to 607.