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Asda hires Nisa boss to run stores in latest leadership shake-up
05 January 2022

Asda has recruited current Nisa boss Ken Towle to run its stores as it continues the leadership shake-up following its £6.8 billion takeover.

Towle, a former director at Tesco, will take up the new role of retail director at the supermarket group, replacing Anthony Hemmerdinger, who oversaw its shops as chief operating officer until his departure in September.

The appointment of Towle is part of the latest set of changes to the firm’s top team after its takeover by the billionaire Issa Brothers and private equity backers TDR Capital was completed early last year.

The new owners are also continuing their search for a new CEO for Asda after previous chief Roger Burnley stepped down ahead of schedule last year.

On Wednesday, it also announced that Derek Lawlor, who has led Asda’s commercial team since 2019, will step down from the business and be replaced by Kris Comerford as chief commercial officer in the summer.

Kris Comerford will join Asda from Tesco, where he has most recently held the role of UK commercial director of packaged foods, fuel and tobacco.

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

Liz Evans, the former CEO of Fat Face, also joined the company’s leadership team earlier this week as managing director of Asda’s fashion and lifestyle business George.

In a joint statement, 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 Towle, Kris Comerford and Simon Gregg to our leadership team will bring a great combination of experience and new thinking to our table.”

Towle is set to be replaced at Co-op owned wholesaler and convenience brand Nisa by Michael Fletcher, chief commercial officer at the Co-op, following his departure.

He 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.”

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