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Tesco boss Jason Tarry ‘could take top job at Morrisons’, replacing Potts

// According to City sources, Tesco managing director Jason Tarry identified himself as a possible replacement for Morrisons boss David Potts
// According to one source, an announcement on Potts’ replacement could be ‘imminent’

Tesco executive Jason Tarry has been identified as a possible replacement for Morrisons boss David Potts, according to City sources, This Is Money reports.

The US private equity firm that owns Morrisons, Clayton Dubilier & Rice (CD&R), is using headhunter Egon Zehnder to find candidates for a number of senior positions at the supermarket.

That includes finding a replacement for chief operating officer Trevor Strain, who left last year after 13 years at the business.

Sources said a number of candidates have also been singled out as potential chief executives, including some who have already been approached by the headhunters.

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According to one source, an announcement on Potts’ replacement could be ‘imminent,’ though the length of executive contracts means it could take up to a year to instal a new boss.

Tesco, the UK’s biggest grocer, has Tarry as its chief commercial officer. Potts, who turns 66 in March, is a coworker he has had in the past. He was also a coworker of Sir Terry Leahy, chairman of Morrisons, who oversaw Tesco until 2011.

Since being acquired by private equity firm CD&R in 2021, Morrisons has come under pressure because its sales growth has lagged behind those of competitors.

The Bradford-based supermarket, which was once the UK’s fourth biggest, was the only major player except Waitrose to see sales drop in the last three months.

The grocer reported a 15% drop in full-year profits to £828m for the 52 weeks ending October 30, 2022.

Critics say CD&R has loaded too much debt onto Morrisons. They fear it may struggle to meet interest payments as the base rate rises and that it may be forced to sell off property to raise cash.

Back in January, Potts said that last year was ‘one of transition’ and he expected the company’s performance to improve.

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