Page last updated at 16:04 GMT, Monday, 12 April 2010 17:04 UK

Asda chief executive Andy Bond to step down

Asda's Andy Bond
Mr Bond will remain chief executive until a successor can be found

Asda chief executive Andy Bond is to leave his current role and become part-time chairman, the supermarket chain has said.

The company, owned by US giant Wal-Mart, said it would appoint a replacement "soon".

Mr Bond has been chief executive of Leeds-based Asda for five years.

He leaves at a time of change at the top of the industry with rival Morrisons' chief executive Marc Bolland leaving to head up Marks and Spencer.

Morrisons' new chief executive, Dalton Philips (who has previously worked for Wal-Mart), took up his new post last month.

New strategy

Asda said Andy Bond had accomplished "tremendous growth" during his time at the company.

During his time at the helm, Asda's market share grew from 16.8% to 17.4% at its peak last year, before dropping back to the current 17%.

Its "Every Day Low Prices" message helped it outpace its rivals during the recession, but its growth rate has slipped behind the other major chains since the start of the recovery, according to industry watchers Kantar Worldpanel.

Mr Bond will announce a new growth strategy for the company later this week.

A report in the Mail on Sunday said that Asda was preparing for a major acquisition, and it had considered making a bid for Home Retail Group, the owner of catalogue shopping chain Argos.

This report pushed Home Retail Group's shares 5% higher on Monday, the highest riser in the FTSE 100 index.

In February, Asda said it planned to open more smaller stores and more Asda Living stores - shops that do not sell food.

Asda has already started looking for a new chief executive and said it would consider both internal and external candidates.

Malcolm Pinkerton, senior retail analyst at Verdict Research, said Mr Bond's departures was "a bit of a shock".

"With a raft of initiatives in place there are some very interesting times ahead for Asda, and while Andy Bond's decision will come as a blow, with a solid strategic plan being implemented by a strong management board, it should not rattle the supermarket too much."

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