Booker CEO Charles Wilson is to retire in February 2021 after 15 years leading the business.
He will be succeeded by Andrew Yaxley who is currently chief product officer for Tesco. A comprehensive handover will begin from September 7, 2020.
Andrew Yaxley will be succeeded by Ashwin Prasad, who is promoted from his current role as commercial director for Packaged Food.
In a statement announcing the forthcoming retirement, the company explained that a couple of years ago Charles unfortunately was diagnosed with throat cancer:
“In typical Charles fashion he has courageously fought the disease and we are delighted that he remains in remission. However, Charles has decided that now is the time to step back and take it a little easier.
“Charles leaves an incredible legacy of building the UK’s leading wholesale business, championing customer satisfaction and driving growth. He has been a wonderful colleague and team player to us all, and we are very grateful for all he has brought to Tesco and the team.”
Dave Lewis, Tesco Group Chief Executive, commented: “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.”
Charles 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.
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.
Ps. For those of you who ask such things, I will not be selling any Tesco shares in the next few years and will remain a committed supporter of the company.”