MORRISONS has announced a new CEO is taking over after an eight-and-a-half year reign of their predecessor.
Current chief executive, David Potts, informed staff of the news in an internal email, seen by the Telegraph & Argus. Rami Baitiéh, who was the head of supermarket giant Carrefour in France until recently, is to be Mr Potts’s successor. He will take over in November, after a brief handover period, when Mr Potts leaves the company.
Mr Baitiéh will work closely with the departing CEO during this introduction. The new chief believes Morrisons holds a “special place” in the hearts of shoppers across the country and said he is “honoured” to be joining the company. His aims are to build the strong links the supermarket chain has with its loyal customers and the communities it serves.
Mr Baitiéh said: “As a manufacturer, wholesaler and seller of food, Morrisons is uniquely positioned to grow in the coming years while remaining deeply focused on customer satisfaction.
“I also want to acknowledge the talented and hard-working members of the Morrisons team that continue to make Morrisons an employer of choice in Britain. Our people are our great strength and I see tremendous opportunity for team development in the coming months and years. I look forward to building on David’s strong legacy of always putting shoppers first and thank him for his help in the transition.”
Sir Terry Leahy, senior advisor at CD&R (Clayton, Dubilier & Rice) – the company that took over Morrisons in 2021 – described Mr Baitiéh as “exceptionally talented” and a “highly capable leader”.
He said the incoming CEO has a “strong track record of driving performance wherever he has been posted”.
Sir Leahy added: “Rami will bring energy, innovation, and dedication to expanding Morrisons loyalty programmes and digital reach, while ensuring that the company’s long legacy of quality, and mission to deliver value for shoppers, is preserved.
“I also want to thank David for his nine years of dedicated service to Morrisons and our customers. This is a bittersweet farewell for me because I have known and worked with David for decades, but I will be happy to see the start of his next adventure.
“David skilfully led the renewal of the Morrisons brand as well as navigating several twists and turns during his tenure, including the COVID pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis, but he leaves the company poised for growth. He spearheaded Morrisons acquisition and integration of McColl’s, expanding the business’s footprint into convenience, and recently re-launched the successful Morrisons More Card loyalty programme. We are grateful for his extraordinary service and wish him all the best.”
David Potts said: “Serving as Morrisons Chief Executive for the last nine years has been the privilege of my working life.
“There have been so many highlights but the way all our colleagues rose to the immense challenge of the Covid pandemic, fed the nation and made sure no-one was left behind will stay with me forever. Rami is joining a very special company with talented and dedicated colleagues and a unique position in British grocery, food making and farming.”
The departing CEO revealed that Morrisons’ financial results for the third quarter of the year “show that the business is once again on a steady growth path with plenty of opportunities ahead” and he feels “full of confidence” about the firm’s future.
He also gave insight into conversations that have happened with Sir Leahy since Morrisons was bought out by CD&R, revealing he was willing to devote a few more years to the company but would move aside if an “outstanding successor” was found.
Mr Potts said: “In my remaining time as CEO, I will be working hard to prepare for the handover, and I look forward to giving Rami all the assistance and advice that he needs during the transition.”
“Terry and I have had several conversations about succession since the buyout in 2021. We had a clear understanding that I was prepared to devote several more years to Morrisons if that was required, but that if an outstanding successor was identified who could lead Morrisons for the long term, then I would step down.
“After a reasonable shift on the frontline of British grocery retailing, I’m looking forward to a short break with my family and will then look for further ways to contribute to business and to the UK’s economic recovery from the pandemic. I will continue to be an investor, supporter, and advocate for Morrisons and look forward to watching its continued progress and development for many years to come.”B