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The Very Group appoints former Walmart exec as CEO

Sophie Smith
05 July 2022

The Very Group has confirmed the appointment of former President and CEO of Walmart Japan, Lionel Desclée, as its new CEO, effective 19 September 2022.

After four years in the role, the group's current CEO Henry Birch will step down on 24 September 2022. In his role, Birch helped to "transform" the group, including implementing a rebrand, launching its automated fulfilment centre in the East Midlands, driving engagement with its AI-powered chatbot and navigating the pandemic.

Desclée joins The Very Group from McKinsey & Company, where he is a senior advisor. Prior to this, he spent three years as President and CEO of Walmart Japan, where he led a team of 35,000. Before joining Walmart, Desclée held a number of senior roles at Tom & Co and Delhaize Group.

Lionel Desclée, newly appointed CEO of The Very Group, said: “I am delighted to be appointed CEO of The Very Group. I can’t wait to start working with the team to further strengthen the convenience, flexibility and value Very provides, whilst exploring new products and services to support our customers.”

Dirk Van den Berghe, The Very Group’s Chairman, said: “Lionel is a highly respected leader with a wealth of global experience across digital and both food and non-food omnichannel retail. He has a proven track record of achieving growth through transformation and operational excellence, developing and coaching world-class teams, and helping companies become even more customer-centric. I am confident that Lionel’s collaborative and strategic approach will prove invaluable as The Very Group further develops its proposition."

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