Sky News has reported that Laurie McIlwee, who has served as Tesco’s chief financial officer since 2009, could leave the company within months. The company is understood to have held discussions at a senior level about Mr McIlwee’s position since an investor presentation late last month at which it ditched a key profit margin target.
Mr McIlwee, who has in the past been the focus of doubts expressed by unidentified City investors, is said to have an uncomfortable working relationship with Philip Clarke, Tesco’s chief executive. A formal search for a new finance director is not yet thought to be underway, but senior sources said on Sunday that Mr McIlwee’s exit was now “more likely than not” at some stage this year.
“The feedback [from some investors] was that the status quo is not tenable,” one insider is reported to have said. If Mr McIlwee does depart, it would represent the latest stage of a sweeping overhaul of the executive management at Tesco, which still possesses a commanding share of the British grocery market. Its seemingly-unassailable position has, however, begun to look more vulnerable as so-called ‘hard discounters’ such as Aldi and Lidl have eaten into its market share.
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