The Business On: Philip Clarke, CEO designate, Tesco

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The Independent Online

The next Sir Terry Leahy?

That's right. Tesco named Philip Clarke as Sir Terry's successor a few months back, and its latest update underlines why he got the job. Responsible for the grocer's international operations, where there is much greater room for expansion than in the UK, Mr Clarke revealed yesterday that overseas sales now account for a third of Tesco's revenues, up from a tenth 10 years ago.



Will he change much?

It doesn't seem likely – Mr Clarke is so similar to Sir Terry that one wonders whether the grocer has a secret production line that manufactures its senior executives.



They can't be that similar?

Want to bet? Both men are Liverpudlians, both started working for Tesco as schoolboys, stacking shelves in their holidays, and both live in Hertfordshire, around the corner from the grocer's headquarters in Cheshunt.



How will we tell them apart?

Ask them about football. Sir Terry is a lifelong Everton fan. Mr Clarke's family loyalties lie with Liverpool, and he likes to take his kids to Anfield.



Are there any other distinguishing characteristics?

Sir Terry may be Tesco man and boy, but Mr Clarke goes one better. Not only did he start out with a holiday job at the grocer, but his dad managed one of its stores. And unlike Sir Terry, who had a short stint at the Co-op on leaving university, before seeing the error of his ways and moving to Tesco, Mr Clarke has never worked anywhere else.



So when does he start?

He's due to take up the reins in March. An apt choice of phrase for a man who likes horse-riding and sailing outside of office hours.



Any worries?

His international role has extended to Europe and Asia, but not the US, where Tesco's Fresh and Easyventure has not been entirely successful. That could prove to be an early flashpoint for the new man.

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