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Analysis: Asda’s new CFO to spearhead expansion strategies

Asda’s incoming CFO Alex Russo will need all his retail skills and experience, as his new employers embark on several new growth strategies.

Russo will take on the role on 6 January, succeeding Richard Mayfield who held the role since joining last year from John Lewis.

Russo has a background in international retail, joining Asda from Peru-based restaurant franchising specialist Delosi where he was involved with Starbucks, KFC and Pizza Hut. He also served as an executive at Tesco.

His Asda predecessor Mayfield will continue his finance career progression – stepping up at its parent company Walmart International to become the regional CFO for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Andy Clarke, Asda president and CEO said of Mayfield: “It’s a testament to the strength of our team that Asda leaders are consistently promoted within the global Walmart family.”

Clarke added: “Richard has left the business in great shape for the future and together, we have developed a strategy which will see Asda redefine value retailing in the UK over the next five years.”

Expansion looms

At Delosi, Russo was involved in a period of swift expansion for the company, he also oversaw a complete overhaul of the executive team. This experience should enable him to support Asda’s plans to spread to the south of England.

Clarke welcomed Russo’s “strong pedigree” in the international arena, expecting him to play a “crucial role” in delivering Asda’s strategy.

Asda has set out a five-year plan to invest £1bn into lowering prices and expanding stores to the south east of England and London, as well as inputting £250m into product quality, style and design.

Greg Bromley, a consultant at retail analyst Conlumino, praised Asda for “sticking to its EDLP (everyday low price) credentials”, and commentated that Asda “will continue to move in the right direction”.

The grocery retailer also plans to widen customer access to 70%, from 53% of the UK through the physical development of stores, as well as adding the Click and Collect option to over 1,000 locations by 2018. Russo’s background of rapid expansion could be crucial in Asda’s implementation of this new strategy.

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