Former Morrisons director slams current board

Morrisons supermarket
Morrisons supermarket
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A former long-serving director at Morrisons has called for a clearout of a board he says have “demonstrated that they are not capable of running a school tuck shop”.

Roger Owen’s comments came as Morrisons, who today announced the closure of 10 of its stores, also said CEO Dalton Phillips was leaving the company and a return to growth would be “best done under new leadership”.


The group added that incoming chairman Andy Higginson would take over from the incumbent chairman Sir Ian Gibson six months earlier than planned.

Mr Owen helped Sir Ken Morrison transform a family supermarket business into a £15bn retail giant. He served as group property director for 22 years until his retirement in 2009.

He criticised the group’s foray into convenience stores as “rushed” and questioned the profitability of home delivery.

Mr Owen said Morrisons should appoint an external candidate and sang the praises of Andy Clarke, the well-regarded chief executive of Asda, Morrisons’ rival: “He’s been through the mill of retailing and knows what it’s about.”

He added: “He’s a retailer. He’s a store manager. He’s going to get to the roots of what’s going on in the stores and is not going to be coming up with fanciful ideas.”

He told the Yorkshire Post the new CEO and chairman should be “challenged and supported by a new board of non-executive directors to replace the ones who quite clearly demonstrated that they are not capable of running a school tuck shop”.

The board’s non-executives are Philip Cox, who joined in 2009, Richard Gillingwater, who joined in 2013, Penny Hughes and Johanna Waterous, who both joined in 2010.

Morrisons, which has lost around a quarter of its stock market value over the last year, today reported a 3.1 per cent fall in like-for-like sales in the six weeks to January 4.