David Potts resigns after 8 years as chief executive of supermarket chain – Mikel Buck/Morrisons/The Academy
Morrisons’ boss is stepping down as the supermarket giant deals with debt concerns following its highly leveraged buyout in 2021.
David Potts, who has served as chief executive of Morrisons since 2015, will be replaced in November by Rami Batieh, the former boss of retailer Carrefour France.
It was previously reported that Mr Potts was expected to remain in the role until at least 2024.
Retailers’ finances have been under pressure in the past year due to rising borrowing costs due to higher interest rates.
Morrisons was taken over by private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) in 2021 in a deal that left the supermarket with £5.9 billion of debt.
In February, credit rating agency Moody’s lowered its outlook for Morrisons from “stable” to “negative”, making it more difficult for the company to borrow money going forward.
The supermarket also lost the title of Britain’s fourth-largest supermarket to Aldi this year as shoppers hit by the cost-of-living crisis looked for cheaper groceries.
Sir Terry Leahy, former chief executive of Tesco and senior adviser to CD&R, said: “Rami is an exceptionally talented and highly capable leader, with a strong track record of driving performance wherever he has been deployed.
“Rami will bring energy, innovation and dedication to expanding Morrison’s loyalty programs and digital reach, while ensuring that the company’s long legacy of quality and mission of delivering value for shoppers is preserved.
“I would also like to thank David for his nine years of dedicated service to Morrisons and our customers. This is a bittersweet farewell for me as I have known and worked with David for decades, but I will be delighted to see him embark on his next adventure.
Rami Baitih, former boss of retailer Carrefour France, to replace Potts – Social Media Site
In the three months to July, Morrison said sales excluding fuel rose 3 percent to £3.8 billion
Mr Potts said: “Our higher prices and new loyalty scheme are proving very popular with customers and I am pleased to report the fifth consecutive quarter of like-for-like sales improvement.”
He added: “Terry and I have had a number of conversations about succession since the buyout in 2021.
“We had a clear understanding that I was prepared to dedicate many more years to Morrison if necessary, but that if an excellent successor was identified who could lead Morrison for the long term, I would step down.”
Mr Baitieh, who was born in Lebanon and moved to France for university, has spent most of his career at Carrefour, where he oversaw its operations in Taiwan and Argentina before becoming chief executive of Carrefour France in 2020.