Asda's chief executive resigns

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The Independent Online

The chief executive of supermarket giant Asda is leaving to take over as chairman of a Dutch retailer, it was announced today.

The chief executive of supermarket giant Asda is leaving to take over as chairman of a Dutch retailer, it was announced today.

Tony DeNunzio, who has led Asda to second place in the league of UK supermarkets, will leave in the next few weeks to take up his post at Vendex KBB, the largest non-food retailer in the Netherlands. Asda expects to announce a replacement shortly.

John Menzer, chief executive of American parent company Wal-Mart, said Wal-Mart was "greatly appreciative" of Mr DeNunzio's contribution during his time with the group.

The 44-year-old, who was awarded a CBE in the 2005 New Year's Honours list, took over at the helm of Asda nearly three years ago. During his time with the company other roles have included chief operating officer, commercial and finance director and chief finance officer for Wal-Mart Europe.

He started his career at consumer goods group Unilever and went on to work for L'Oreal and PepsiCo before joining Asda. He is married with two children and lives in North Yorkshire.

Mr DeNunzio is also a non-executive director of furniture group MFI and chaired a DTI team looking at how the Government and the retail industry could work more effectively together.

Wal-Mart said in a statement: "Asda announced today the resignation of president and CEO Tony DeNunzio, who will leave the company in the next few weeks to pursue other business interests."

Over the last five years, Asda has overtaken Sainsbury's as the country's number two supermarket, with industry figures released this week showing it has a 16.9% share of the UK grocery market. It is beaten only by Tesco, which has a 29% share.

Asda operates 274 stores and is trialling a non-food store and six stand-alone stores featuring its George-branded clothing.

It stepped up its expansion last month by pledging to open at least 15 new stores and create 6,000 jobs in 2005. This will include new stores in Frome in Somerset, Brynmawr in South Wales and Cape Hill in Birmingham.

The proposals, worth £600 million, also include 20 investment schemes and an additional five non-food outlets.

Mr Menzer said: "Asda is an extremely strong company and has a superb management team with the depth and expertise to continue our growth into the future."

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