Boss of Britain's Asda to leave business after Issa's purchase

James Davey and Vishal Vivek
·2 min read
CEO of ASDA Roger Burnley, poses for a photograph at an event in London

By James Davey and Vishal Vivek

(Reuters) - The chief executive of Asda, Roger Burnley, will leave the British supermarket chain next year, it said on Thursday, a month after the billionaire Issa brothers and private equity group TDR Capital completed their purchase of the group.

Mohsin and Zuber Issa bought a majority holding in Asda from U.S. giant Walmart, giving it an enterprise value of 6.8 billion pounds ($9.5 billion).

Burnley, 54, re-joined Asda in 2016 and has been CEO since 2018. The group said he would depart after it has transitioned fully to new ownership and once his long-term successor was in place.

Asda is Britain's third largest supermarket group after market leader Tesco and Sainsbury's.

“My decision to leave Asda is personal and something I wanted to communicate to my colleagues as soon as I could," said Burnley.

"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."

Asda said a process would commence shortly to appoint a new CEO who could commit to leading the business over the long-term.

While the Issa brothers/TDR deal completed on Feb. 16, it still requires regulatory approval, with the parties subject to an enforcement order from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to ensure Asda continues to operate independently from its buyers while it conducts its investigation.

The CMA has set an April 20 deadline for a ruling.

The brothers and TDR contributed 780 million pounds to the deal, with the rest financed through 3.5 billion pounds of debt, the sale of Asda's 322 petrol forecourt sites to their own EG Group for 750 million pounds and the sale of its distribution centres.

($1 = 0.7180 pounds)

(Reporting by Vishal Vivek in Bengaluru and James Davey in London; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and David Gregorio)