Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Reshuffling at the Top at Tesco: Retail Chief Adams Leaving Fresh & Easy For Turkey; China CEO Ashdown to Replace Him; Richie to Head China Operations

Jeff Adams, Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market's top retail operations executive, is leaving the El Segundo, California-based grocery chain to become CEO of Tesco Kipa in Turkey, Fresh & Easy Buzz has learned.
He will be moving to Izmir, Turkey, where Tesco Kipa is based, later this month.

Adams is being replaced at Fresh & Easy by Tim Ashdown, a 31-year Tesco veteran.

Ashdown has held a variety of international positions at Tesco. Currently he's CEO of Tesco's operations in China. Before taking over in China, Ashdown was chief operating officer of Tesco-Homeplus in Korea. Prior to that was operations director at Tesco's global headquarters in the UK.

Paul Ritchie is replacing Tim Ashton as CEO of Tesco China.

Richie joined Tesco in 1980. He's been CEO of Tesco Kipa in Turkey for three years. Prior to that position he was head of development for the retailer's Tesco Express stores and business in the UK. Trevor Masters, Tesco's CEO for Asia, is also going to be spending more time in China, which is a key growth market for Tesco, Clarke said in the internal e-mail to company employees.

The changes involving Adams' move from Fresh & Easy to Tesco Kipa, along with those involving Ashdown and Richie were announced today by Tesco CEO Philip Clarke in an internal memo to company employees. Neither Tesco or its Fresh & Easy chain have publicly announced the leadership changes.

A Tesco source familiar with the reasons behind the move says it in part has to do with a desire by CEO Philip Clarke to bring in somebody new at Fresh & Easy who the believes has a strong operational focus and isn't afraid to "crack the whip" on store operations.

Shortly after he became CEO of Tesco in March 2011, Clarke, who ran Tesco's operations in Asia and Europe - Ashdown reported to Clarke at that time - announced that the United Kingdom-based retailer would break even with Fresh & Easy by February 2013. But when Tesco reported a $245 million loss for Fresh & Easy on April 18, Clarke announced it would instead push-back that date, saying it will now break-even with Fresh & Easy by early 2014.

The $245 million loss at Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market for Tesco's 2011/12 fiscal year is only an $8 million improvement from the $253 million Tesco lost on Fresh & Easy two years ago. If Clarke's promise that Tesco will break even with Fresh & Easy by early 2014 were to come true, it would mean in just two years the retailer would be able to go from a $245 million loss this year to a zero loss by the end of February 2014.

United Kingdom-based Tesco transferred Jeff Adams, who at the time was the CEO of its Tesco-Lotus division in Thailand, to its then start up El Segundo, California-based Fresh & Easy chain in 2008 to co-direct (co-executive vice president of retail operations) retail operations with Brian Pough, who left Tesco and Fresh & Easy not long after Adams' arrival and currently is a senior retail executive with the Walgreens' drug chain, where he focuses on the food and grocery segment at its corporate hheadquarters in Illinois.

Following Pugh's departure, Adams was put in sole charge of Fresh & Easy's retail operations and given the title of executive vice president of retail operations.

Adams is the second senior executive to leave Tesco-owned Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market in six months. In early November, Fresh & Easy Buzz broke the news that chief marketing officer Simon Uwins was out at the El Segundo-headquartered grocery chain. Following our scoop, which revealed the changes being made in the marketing department at Fresh & Easy, the grocery chain's spokesperson announced his departure.

Related Stories

September 22, 2008: Key Personnel Breaking News: Co-Vice President of Retail Operations Brian Pugh No Longer Employed At Tesco Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market

May 29, 2008: Tesco Makes Official Announcement of Jeff Adams' Title and Position at Fresh & Easy Corporate; Confirms Our Report of March 5

March 12, 200: Breaking News: Tesco plc. Makes Major Personnel Change to Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market USA Senior Management Team

November 10, 2011 Chief Marketing Officer Uwins Out in Top-Level Reshuffling at Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market


Anonymous said...

This is from an article by the financial times dated march 5th 2012
Mr Clarke said the US arm, which is estimated to have racked up £700m of losses and sucked in £1bn of capital since its inception in 2007, was likely to break even periodically “in months of 2012 or 2013”.
To say this just over a month before the annual report in april, when he then said it wouldnt be until 2014 until break even then he has deliberately misled.
apparently only about 30 fresh and easy stores are profitable after 5 years. I would like to know how much in profit, i bet its not much. Tesco should have bought someone out and built from a profitable base instead of starting with f&e.

cab said...

This actually makes sense. The majority of shoppers in my fne are asian. They come in looking for the "todays specials", and are sometimes angry when we don't have them done. Some will "cruise" the store looking for past date product. The russians are just as bad.

Anonymous said...

where is this asian fne store located? arcadia? rosemead? west covina? those stores there are making much better than the one's in Fresno, Inland Empire or Bakersfield

Anonymous said...

Let's hope Mr. Ashdown brings a voice of reason, focus on priorities and strong leadership to the team. The fact is, most of us that know Tim Mason know he's a One Trick Pony (Club Card) and married into a strong family. Mason really has no business running a business. He's failed beyond belief with Fresh & Easy. Have you noticed he's never included in Tesco analyst calls. Ever. The reason is, he has zero financial acumen and he's a loose canon. Let's see how long it takes for Mr. Clarke to deal with him.

F&E Employee said...

Ashdown is obviously going to run F&E. Mason to remain CEO and figure head. But really, what does Ashdown know about food retailing in California, Nevada and Arizona? I see more of the same - continued losses, closing more stores, cutting back our hours, employees leaving like many are as soon as they find other jobs. I'm looking myself.

Anonymous said...

Jeff Adams was a cool and nice guy. Sucks to see him leave.

Anonymous said...

More head in the sand thinking from Tesco management here ... how can you expect to break even in two years instead of one when losses are consistent year over year while doing the same things over and over again.