FORMER TESCO CFO Andrew Higginson is to take on the chairmanship of the UK’s fourth-largest supermarket Morrisons.
Higginson, who will vacate his chairman role at discount store Poundland to take the post, will first act as deputy chairman as current incumbent Sir Ian Gibson completes his tenure before a handover in 2015.
He spent some 15 years at Tesco before being overlooked for the top job, prompting a portfolio career taking in non-executive roles at the Rugby Football Union, BSkyB and McCurrach as well as non-executive chairmanships and N Brown – the fashion business behind Jacamo – and latterly Poundland.
Morrisons is under increasing pressure to reverse declining sales against fierce opposition from discounters Aldi and Lidl. It plans to “rebase” its profits and invest £1bn over the next three years into cutting prices and improving its own-brand food range.
Last month, the supermarket reported a pre-tax loss of £176m for the year to 2 February after writing down the value of its property, IT and baby equipment retailer Kiddicare, which it later sold to private equity firm Endless for £2m.
Outgoing Morrisons chairman Gibson said: “Andy Higginson has a tremendous reputation and a distinguished career at the forefront of retailing in the UK and I am sure he will be a huge asset to Morrisons. I am very pleased to welcome him to the board as deputy chairman and look forward to working with him to ensure a smooth transition to the chairman role.”
Higginson added: “I am delighted to be joining the board of Morrisons. Whilst there are undoubted challenges in the industry at the moment, this is a fine business and I am looking forward to working with the great team at Morrisons who work hard every day to serve customers.”