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Charles Wilson to step down from Tesco’s Booker in 2021

Tesco had announced that after 15 years leading the Booker business its CEO Charles Wilson is to retire in February 2021.

Tesco said Wilson leaves an “incredible legacy” of building the UK’s leading wholesale business, championing customer satisfaction and driving growth.

Wilson joined Tesco when the ‘Big Four’ grocer acquired Booker in a £3.7bn deal in 2018.

Wilson was also diagnosed with throat cancer in 2018 with the grocer adding that “in typical Charles fashion’ he fought the disease and currently remains in remission. However, the company said Wilson has now decided it is the time to “step back and take it a little easier”.

Wilson will be succeeded by Andrew Yaxley who is currently chief product officer for Tesco. Ashwin Prasad, who has been promoted from his current role as commercial director for Packaged Food, will take up the role of chief product officer.

The news comes as Tesco group CEO Dave Lewis and CFO Alan Stewart also announced they would be leaving the group.

Dave Lewis, Tesco Group chief executive, said: “Charles’ reputation in the UK food business is unparalleled and for very good reason! The transformation of Booker over the last 15 years is one of the most remarkable business case studies in recent history. Since the merger with Tesco he has been a superb member of the Executive team and a brilliant colleague.

“Whilst we are very sad to see him retire, we completely understand and wish Charles and his family all the very best for the future. I know that he will stay a massive supporter of the Tesco/Booker business and he will always remain a friend to many colleagues.”

Wilson said: “I joined the Booker team 15 years ago. At that time Booker was challenged. Together we turned around the company, improved customer satisfaction and grew to be the leading Wholesaler. In 2018 we merged with Tesco.

“The merger is working well. Customer satisfaction has improved, our sales are up £1.5bn and we are proud to be part of Tesco. It has been a privilege serving our retail and catering customers and a pleasure working with a great team at Tesco/Booker.”

He added: “A couple of years ago I was diagnosed with throat cancer. I remain in remission but it is time to take things a little easier. I will retire next year to be replaced by Andrew Yaxley. Andrew will be a great leader of Booker within the Tesco Group.

“Andrew and I will ensure a smooth handover to maintain business as usual. It has been a huge privilege to be part of Booker and Tesco, and I look forward to seeing the group flourish in the years ahead.”

He also revealed he will not be selling any Tesco shares in the next few years and will “remain a committed supporter of the company”.


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