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Tesco to appoint Charles Wilson as UK&I CEO

The UK’s largest supermarket chain Tesco will have a new UK & Ireland CEO following its merger with Booker Group, it was announced today.

The wholesaler’s boss Charles Wilson will take over from Matt Davies when the deal completes, which is expected to be on 5 March.

Matt Davies will step down after three years in the role, staying on to complete a handover before departing at the end of April.

Group CEO Dave Lewis said: “I am delighted Charles will be joining the Tesco board and executive committee.

“He brings substantial commercial and retail experience and has an exceptional track record of increasing performance and driving growth in customer-focused businesses.”

He added: “Charles is ideally suited to lead the UK& ROI business for the combined group in the next phase of our turnaround.”

Wilson has been CEO of Booker since 2007, becoming an executive director in 1998, two years before the company merged with Iceland. He has also held executive retail roles at Arcadia Group and Marks & Spencer.

Departing Davies, who is the former CEO of Pets at Home and Halfords, played a major role in engaging staff at Tesco following a tough period for the retailer that involved falling sales and the accounting scandal engulfing a number of the senior team in place prior to his arrival.

He regularly described Tesco colleagues as “an army of advocates” for the brand, and made it a target to email them all once a week to maintain strong communication with the wider team and boost morale.

Lewis thanked Davies for his “outstanding contribution” at Tesco and the part he played in the company’s ongoing turnaround.

In a separate announcement to the City today, Tesco said it will publish a circular and a prospectus containing information on the background and reasons for its proposed merger with Booker. It includes a profit forecast of at least £1.575 billion for the financial year to 24 February 2018.