New Tesco boss start delayed until October

The new boss of Tesco will have to wait until October before starting after management at his current employer, Boots, forced him to see out a non-compete agreement.

Ken Murphy, who is currently chief commercial officer at Walgreens Boots Alliance, had been due to start at the UK’s biggest supermarket this summer.

But, Tesco confirmed it would now be October 1, with current chief executive Dave Lewis agreeing to stay on until Mr Murphy arrives.

Ken Murphy
Ken Murphy

Tesco said: “To facilitate a smooth and seamless handover, Dave Lewis has agreed to extend his tenure as group chief executive until September 30 2020.”

Previously, Tesco chairman John Allan said last October: “We have appointed Ken Murphy to succeed Dave as group CEO of Tesco next summer.”

Companies typically put non-compete agreements into contracts to avoid rivals poaching their best talent.

Most non-competes last around 12 months from serving notice.

Roger Burnley, chief executive of Asda was forced to take time off before joining the supermarket, due to a non-compete clause in his contract with previous employer Sainsbury’s.

Sources close to Tesco insisted Mr Murphy’s start date had never been confirmed.

They added that Tesco is known to enforce clauses on their own staff who are leaving.

The new boss, who will take home a basic salary of £1.35 million, was appointed after a “thorough” recruitment process – although the board of Tesco decided against informing shareholders that the process had taken place until its completion.