Richard Brasher was employed by Tesco’s for over 25 years and just last year he was finally elevated to boardroom level. For the last year he has been responsible for overseeing the Tesco brand in the UK and things have not quite gone as well for him as he might have hoped.
Unfortunately, for the long serving employee, he has been dismissed by the company after just one year in the job he strived after for his entire career. It is expected that he left the business because of strategy disagreements for the UK business, with the Chief Executive of the company, Philip Clarke.
In the past six months it has been rumoured that the relationship between Mr Brasher and Mr Clarke has become increasingly strained. Nearly 70 percent of Tesco’s profits still come from the UK and in the last year profits have significantly deteriorated. The relationship between the two Tesco’s executives has been long-standing, but it seems as if the profit situation in the UK was enough to end it.
It is expected that there were two main incidents in the last year which have led to Mr Brasher’s departure. The first was the failure of the price reduction campaign run by Tesco that was designed to help increase their market share. The second was the drop in profits which led to Tesco having to issue their first profit warning for over two decades. This was an event that Mr Clarke described as being very embarrassing for him.
It was just a year ago that an interview with Mr Clarke in the Daily Telegraph was published in which Mr Clarke described Mr Brasher as, “The perfect man for leading the UK side of Tesco.”
Mr Clark initially implied that he would allow Mr Brasher a great deal of autonomy in running the UK side of the business. However, after profits started to decline, he started becoming much more involved in the everyday running of the business and that initial promise of autonomy disappeared.
Several analysts have been speculating for a while that there have been disagreements between Mr Brasher and Mr Clarke. Much of these rumors were intensified when Mr Clarke made a statement that, “There is no room for two leaders in Tesco.”
Jonathan Pritchard is an analyst from Oriel Securities and he has commented, “People are definitely suspicious of the fact that there were major disagreements going on at the executive level in Tesco. This is something that the management of the company have been trying to keep quiet for a long time but it is clear now that there have been serious disagreements.”
Another analyst, Clive Black agrees commenting, “Mr Brasher had an intense focus on reducing prices and this is something that not all executives at Tesco were happy with. It is no surprise to most people in the industry that Mr Brasher has left the company.” Mr Black also commented on the general decline of Tesco’s market share saying, “Tesco were once a company that consumers loved and their market share was enormous, but it seems now as if they have lost touch with this consumer base.”
It is expected that in the short term Mr Clarke will be taking over the duties of Mr Brasher, and running the UK operation of Tesco. However, most retail analysts are expecting that a replacement will be needed in the near future.