The Business On: Philip Clarke, Chief executive, Tesco

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Since when?

Since today, when Mr Clarke succeeded Sir Terry Leahy as the boss at Britain's biggest grocer.



Goodness, he must have been nervous this morning?

Maybe a little bit, but he's not exactly a new boy and the promotion has been almost a year in the making. Mr Clarke was given the top job last summer when Sir Terry announced his retirement – he's been at Tesco for 36 years, most recently as its international director.



Just like his predecessor then?

They're peas in a pod. Like Sir Terry, Mr Clarke grew up Liverpool and started out with a part-time job at his local Tesco, stacking shelves (dad managed a store on the Wirral). He had a bit of a break, to do an economics degree at Liverpool University, but then rejoined Tescoas a graduate trainee.



A case of 'the king is dead, long live the king'?

That's exactly what the analysts said. The similarities to his former boss continue: like Sir Terry, Mr Clarke is married with two children and lives close to the Tesco headquarters in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire. The two men live on the same street, in fact.



Spooky. Does Tesco have some sort of cloning device?

Its powers know no bounds. Still, something appears to have gone wrong with the machine. Sir Terry is a diehard Everton fan, but Mr Clarke is a Liverpool supporter.



Thank heavens for that. Any other ways to tell them apart?

Well, Mr Clarke got straight on to the Tesco graduate trainee scheme while Sir Terry was famously turned down and went to work for Co-op instead. The question today is whether the new broom will be as tolerant with Tesco's US operation, Fresh and Easy, which has so far been a rare failure for the supermarket giant, as his predecessor.



And when he's not too busy crushing the competition?

He's into horse riding and sailing. Sir Terry prefers football and theatre, in case you were beginning to wonder whether they are one and the same.

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