M&S food chief Stuart Machin tipped for top job at Asda

M&S food boss Stuart Machin singled out as prime candidate to run Asda following announcement of departure of chief executive Roger Burnley

Marks & Spencer food boss Stuart Machin has been singled out as a prime candidate to run the Asda supermarket chain following the announcement of the departure of chief executive Roger Burnley last week. 

Burnley, whose departure has been rumoured for several months, said he will leave the business next year after the Leeds-based chain was bought by brothers Mohsin and Zuber Issa and their private equity partners TDR Capital. 

Several City sources spoken to by The Mail on Sunday said Machin and Morrisons’ second-in-command Trevor Strain will be ‘top of the list’ of candidates for the top Asda job. 

Praised: Stuart Machin has been key to improvement in Marks & Spencer's ranges

Praised: Stuart Machin has been key to improvement in Marks & Spencer’s ranges

Machin was brought in to revitalise the Marks & Spencer food division, which has since struck a deal with Ocado to deliver to homes. 

The transition to home delivery and the improvement in the M&S ranges has been widely praised. 

Meanwhile, Strain is already believed to be waiting in the wings for the top job at Bradford-based rival Morrisons. Sources described both men as ‘highly ambitious’ and ‘exceptionally capable’. 

‘The question is whether they would want to walk into a business owned by two relatively unknown brothers who only appeared on the scene recently,’ said one City source. 

‘The next chief executive will likely be keen to find out why Roger left before he signs up for the job, unless the money is just too good to refuse,’ said another. 

Asda said Burnley, 54, who also farms sheep in his spare time, will leave only after his successor has been appointed. 

He said: ‘My decision to leave Asda is personal and something I wanted to communicate to my colleagues as soon as I could. Whilst I remain fully committed to leading this great business for the next year and delivering our strategy, it is right to plan for a managed succession process well in advance.’ 

Mohsin and Zuber Issa and TDR Capital jointly said: ‘Roger and his team have protected and enhanced an exceptionally resilient business which we are proud to own.


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