Sometimes the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Take the case of Matt Simister, who was rewarded for his loyalty to Tesco this week with a promotion to the role of chief executive of the retailer’s Central European business.
Simister had to endure a tremendously difficult period when he was suspended from Tesco while investigations into accounting irregularities were carried out. In the event he was completely exonerated of any wrongdoing and since returning in 2014 has gone on to play a pivotal role in Tesco’s turnaround.
As commercial director for fresh food and commodities Simister has not only been the driving force behind the rejuvenation of Tesco’s fresh food offer but also a key figure in its industry leading efforts to reduce food waste.
His promotion, along with that of UK chief operating officer Tony Hoggett, is the result of a restructuring of Tesco’s international business, which will see international boss Trevor Masters step down at the end of May.
Masters is a Tesco lifer who joined as a management trainee and has most recently played a central role in simplifying Tesco’s overseas business, a fact Dave Lewis acknowledged in announcing the changes.
Hoggett, who also joined Tesco as a teenager, will assume responsibility for the retailer’s Asian business, having previously held senior roles in China and Turkey.
Like Simister, Hoggett was part of a leadership team that endured the dark days that marked the end of Philip Clarke’s reign and the early days of Dave Lewis’s succession. Many of his colleagues, quite understandably, chose to leave the business but Hoggett rode out the troubles and is now reaping his reward.
Following a turbulent few years, things are starting to look a lot brighter for Tesco. Sales are heading in the right direction and there is a sense that Dave Lewis is close to putting the finishing touches to his leadership team.
There is a nice mix of talent at the top of the business with relatively new faces such as Matt Davies, Alessandra Bellini and, of course, Charles Wilson, joining experienced hands like Simister, Hoggett and Jason Tarry.
Such a pool of talent is enough to strike fear into the hearts of even the most confident competitor. And with inflation creeping back into the market and consumers cautious about the impact of Brexit, Tesco has the personnel – not to mention the buying power – to navigate a challenging market and emerge in an even more dominant position.