Britain's Asda recruits former Tesco director to run stores

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A worker pushes shopping trolleys at an Asda store in West London, Britain, April 28, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville

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LONDON, Jan 5 (Reuters) - British supermarket group Asda has recruited former Tesco (TSCO.L)executive Ken Towle as its new retail director with responsibility for all stores, it said on Wednesday.

The UK's third largest grocer, owned since last February by Mohsin and Zuber Issa and private equity company TDR Capital, has been without a chief executive since Roger Burnley left abruptly in August. read more

It said Towle, currently CEO of the Co-op Group-owned Nisa, will join Asda later this year. Prior to leading Nisa, Towle spent 30 years with market leader Tesco.

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Asda also announced the departure of another top executive.

It said Derek Lawlor, who has led its commercial team since 2019 has decided to leave the business after six years.

His exit also follows that of chief operating officer Anthony Hemmerdinger and chief strategy officer Preyash Thakrar last September.

Asda said Kris Comerford will join in late summer 2022 as chief commercial officer, food.

Comerford will join from Tesco, where he most recently held the role of UK commercial director, packaged foods, fuel and tobacco.

Asda also said that Simon Gregg, who currently leads its online operation, will join the executive leadership team.

Industry data published on Wednesday showed Asda's sales fell 3.9% in the 12 weeks to Dec. 26 year-on-year but were up 3.5% on a two-year basis. read more

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Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Kate Holton and Alexandra Hudson

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