Asda announces New Year leadership changes

Asda House close up

Asda has today announced changes to its executive leadership team.

Ken Towle 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 the business in late summer 2022 as Chief Commercial Officer, Food.

With the increasing relevance of online to Asda’s business, it was also announced today that Simon Gregg, who currently leads Asda’s online operation, is joining the executive leadership team.

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

Commenting on the changes, Mohsin and Zuber Issa, who own Asda with TDR Capital Ltd, 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 Towle, 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. I am confident that under his leadership we will continue to make great strides in this important ambition. Simon has done a fantastic job of leading our online team and his appointment to the exec team demonstrates the continued significance of online to our business growth.

“We are delighted that we continue to attract such talent to our great business. Together, we will continue to put our customers at the heart of all our decision making and focus on delivering excellent service in what we know will be another challenging period for consumers.”

Ken Towle joins Asda from Nisa, which is part of the Co-op Group, and where has held responsibility for supplying over 4000 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.

Ken Towle said; “It’s an exciting time to be joining the Asda team and I am really looking forward to getting started later in the year.”

Kris Comerford will join Asda from Tesco, where he has most recently held the role of UK Commercial Director, Packaged Foods, Fuel and Tobacco. Since joining Tesco in 2005, Kris has held responsibility for a range of key categories within the supermarket’s commercial team before taking on the role of Customer Director in 2016. He was then appointed Chief Commercial Officer for Tesco Lotus in Thailand before returning to the UK in December 2020.

Lord Stuart Rose, Chairman of Asda 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.”