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Tesco Chief Creates New Senior Roles

Tuesday, June 03 10:45:28

Tesco Plc chief Philip Clarke has created two new senior roles and added more muscle to UK management as he struggles to revive falling sales at Britain's biggest retailer.

The announcement comes as the supermarket operator is expected to report on Wednesday its worst quarterly performance in its key home market since Clarke took the helm in 2011, squeezed between discounters like Aldi and by more upmarket chains such as Waitrose.

Clarke's new appointments are his latest moves in a turnaround plan for its British operations, which contribute two-thirds of sales and profit at Tesco, the world's third-largest retailer after Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Carrefour SA.

Jill Easterbrook, currently running Tesco's developing businesses, including health and wellbeing and convenience stores, will become chief customer officer, responsible for communicating with customers, including taking charge of group and UK marketing, Clarke wrote in a blog.

Matt Atkinson, who was involved in launching Tesco's popular Hudl tablet computer and is working on the launch of a current or checking account and "digital wallet" for the retailer, will take on the role of chief creative officer, the CEO said.(http://link.reuters.com/xar79v)

In April, Tesco finance chief Laurie McIlwee announced plans to quit after five years at the company, leaving Clarke the only executive director on the company's board. McIlwee is staying on until he can hand over to a successor.

Easterbrook and Atkinson will be on Tesco's executive committee, which sits below the PLC board.

Data from Kantar Worldpanel on Tuesday showed Tesco sales fell 3.1 percent in the 12 weeks to May 25, while the overall UK grocery market grew 1.7 percent.

Clarke also said he was reinforcing the company's UK leadership team, adding group multichannel director Robin Terrell, who will now run grocery home shopping and general merchandise including Tesco's movie streaming service Blinkbox.

Easterbrook will also join the UK team, under the leadership of Chris Bush, along with Michael Holmes, who has worked on developing in-store dining and cafes for Tesco including the Giraffe brand. (Reuters)