Morrisons appoints Waitrose's Hodgson as group commercial director

Richard Hodgson: move to Morrisons
Richard Hodgson: move to Morrisons

Morrisons has appointed Waitrose's Richard Hodgson, the man credited with introducing the upmarket supermarket's value range, as its new group commercial director.

The appointment of Hodgson is part of a wider restructure at Morrisons which has prompted the move of Martyn Jones, group trading director, to the new role of group corporate services director.

Hodgson will take on Jones' commerical responsibilities but hold the different title of group commercial director.

The roles of Angus Maciver, group marketing communications director, and Michael Bates, marketing director, are unaffected.

Hodgson has held a number of key roles in both the premium and value supermarket sectors.  Since 2006 he has been at Waitrose, initially as director of buying before moving to the commercial director post in 2008.

That role added marketing, international development and merchandising to his responsibilities. Earlier in his career he spent 10 years at Asda in a number of senior roles, most recently as brand and marketing director. 

Hodgson is credited with spearheading Waitrose's Essential own-label lines as it looked to dissuade cash-conscious shoppers from defecting to rival cheaper supermarkets.

Commenting on the appointment, Dalton Philips, chief executive of Morrisons, said: "I'm delighted to welcome Richard to the Morrisons team. He brings wide experience from all areas of the UK grocery market and has made a big impact in all of his senior roles.   

"His appointment underlines Morrisons' ability to attract the very best talent in retail to our team and we very much look forward to working with him."  

Jones will report directly to Philips. The new role will focus on government affairs, corporate responsibility, public relations and food safety.

Jones will take up the new position from September at which time he will also step down from the Morrisons board, once he has "completed a smooth transition of his trading director responsibilities", according to the group.      

Philips added: "Martyn is a retail heavyweight who has made an enormous contribution to Morrison's success over a number of years. He has valuable experience in all areas of food retailing and will make an immediate and significant impact in his new role as group corporate services director."

Irishman Philips was poached from Canada's largest retailer Loblaw to take the post of chief executive at Britain's fourth-largest supermarket chain in January this year.

Morrisons growth has recently slowed dramatically as it faces competition from Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda.

Like-for-like sales over the 13 weeks to May 6 grew just 0.8%, down from growth of 6.5% over the Christmas trading period.

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