David Potts has wasted no time in stamping his authority on Morrisons after taking the supermarket’s helm last week. It emerged today that the former Tesco exec has axed five senior directors from his management board in a bid to make the business more ‘lean’.
The unlucky five includes Nigel Robertson, head of the supermarket’s convenience stores, which probably shouldn’t come as a massive surprise after it announced plans to close 23 of them earlier this month.
The other heads that have rolled belong to Martyn Fletcher, Morrisons’s retail director, Neal Austin, its logistics director, Gordon Mowat, its property and strategy director, and Nick Collard, its customer marketing and digital director.
‘I will now be constructing a leaner management board, with the aim of simplifying and speeding up the business,’ Potts said. ‘I would like to thank Nick, Martyn, Neal, Nigel and Gordon for their service to Morrisons.’
They aren’t the only form of management Potts has taken the axe to. Morrisons has ditched its ‘Intelligent Queue Management’ system, which monitored customer levels in stores and decided how many tills ought to be open at any time.
The system was unpopular among staff, so the decision should win Potts some allies on the shop floor. ‘Our colleagues in our stores are best placed to use their experience and personal judgement in deciding how best to serve their customers, keeping queues low at the checkouts and improving the customer’s shopping trip,’ he said.
He's also made the classic move of ordering all head office managers to work in stores over the easter holidays. A few quick tweaks are just the beginning of a long and arduous task for Potts though. With food prices falling fast and Aldi and Lidl circling like vultures, Morrisons has a fight on its hands to retain a double digit market share.