Bolland to refresh parts of Morrisons

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Marc Bolland, who is taking over as Chief Executive of Morrisons Marc Bolland, who is taking over as Chief Executive of Morrisons

The boss of Dutch brewers Heineken has been announced as the new chief executive of Bradford supermarket giant Morrisons.

Marc Bolland, 47, will succeed Bob Stott at the beginning of September.

He will take over from Sir Ken Morrison in being responsible for the day-to-day running of the company and its strategic development as it continues to iron out internal problems caused by its takeover of supermarket rival Safeway.

The company has also announced the retirement as director of its deputy chairman David Jones.

A Morrisons spokesman said a search had started to find a deputy chairman who will eventually succeed Sir Ken, who has announced his intention to retire as chairman and director of Morrisons by 2008.

Following Mr Jones's retirement Paul Manduca will become its senior independent director.

Announcing the changes, Sir Ken said: "I am delighted to have appointed Marc Bolland as chief executive of Morrisons.

"Marc has a wealth of experience operating in a highly-competitive consumer products sector and also brings extensive commercial and leadership skills to the group which will ensure its continued progress.

"With Marc we will have an excellent management team and I am confident that under his new leadership the group will take up its rightful position as The Best Grocer in Town, and in so doing deliver sustainable profit growth for the benefit of all our stakeholders."

Commenting on Bob Stott's retirement, Sir Ken said: "Bob has been a major contributor to the development of the group over the last ten years, since re-joining the business."

Mr Bolland will move from Amsterdam to Yorkshire. He said: "This is a great opportunity for me to head one of the UK's leading companies, and I am looking forward to the challenge."

Mr Bolland is chief operating officer and executive board member of Heineken N.V. as well as non-executive director of Manpower Inc.

He has held a number of senior roles at Heineken over the past 20 years, among which has been the responsibility for brand strategy and marketing strategy.

Analyst Clive Black, of Shore Capital Stockbrokers, said: "We believe that a major sticking point in the recruitment of a new chief executive has been the ongoing executive involvement of the chairman.

"This issue, to us, has turned many potential Morrisons chief executive candidates away, the reasoning being that the new chief executive needs the autonomy to address the challenges and opportunities Morrisons faces to improve returns without the additional filter of the chairman."

Mr Black said Sir Ken's decision to move aside represented "a major cultural change" at Morrisons "because he has been such a dominant and brilliant force within the business".

Following Morrisons' acquisition of Safeway in 2004 it is now the UK's fourth largest supermarket group, with 11.8 per cent grocery market share and group turnover of £12 billion.

e-mail: richard.woodward@bradford.newsquest.co.uk

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