Richard Pennycook joined Morrisons in 2005 after botched Safeway integration triggered five profit warnings and first loss
The long-serving finance director of Morrisons, who steered the Bradford-based grocer back from the financial abyss when the takeover of Safeway led to a collapse in profits, is leaving.
Richard Pennycook, who was overlooked as chief executive two years ago, said he would step down from the board next summer with a view to a “building a portfolio career”. Pennycook joined Morrisons in 2005 to pick up the pieces after the botched integration of the Safeway chain triggered five profit warnings and the first loss in the company’s history.
The departure of the highly regarded executive, who was also responsible for strategy and business areas such as IT and the internet, comes at a tough time for Morrisons’ chief executive, Dalton Philips. The supermarkets are battling for custom as the squeeze on disposable incomes sees households shop around for the best deals and cut back on the number of groceries they buy.
At the company’s recent AGM, Morrisons’ founder, Sir Ken Morrison, complained that the supermarket, which used to be famous for its “no frills” approach to groceries, was moving too upmarket and risked alienating its most loyal customers. Market share data from Kantar Worldpanel showed Morrisons’ sales growth ground to a halt in the 12 weeks to 10 June, the weakest performance of the so-called big four supermarkets.
But Pennycook, 47, missed out on the top job at Morrisons twice, with the board selecting Marc Bolland to replace Bob Stott in 2006. He is working his 12-months notice and stands to collect a bonus, worth £1.2m based on Monday’s share price, in March. The award of 456,000 shares was made after Philips’ appointment to secure his services for at least another two years. “This was a difficult decision, but by the time I leave next year I will have been with Morrisons for over eight years and I feel that it’s the right time to seek new challenges,” said Pennycook.
He joined Morrisons from the breakdown recovery firm RAC, but previously specialised in company turnarounds. He spent a year at Hereford cider group HP Bulmer, which was sold to Scottish & Newcastle, and before that led the restructuring of both Welcome Break and Laura Ashley. He is understood to be keen to return to this sphere.
Morrisons’ chairman, Sir Ian Gibson, said Pennycook had done an “outstanding job” and had played an “increasing strategic role in the last few years”. The search for a successor would commence in short order, the company said. The shares closed down 3.6p at 264.8p.
After Tesco’s profit warning in January, which was blamed on the poor performance, its chief executive Philip Clarke has turned up the heat on the competition with a blitz of money-off coupons and price cuts. he told the Consumer Goods Forum in Istanbul Tesco was “turning Clubcard digital”, correlating loyalty card information on what shoppers buy with feeds from social networks, mobile phone data and payment methods to help build a fuller picture of its shoppers’ spending habits. The move would enable Tesco to “get to know our customers better still, and use that understanding to deliver an even more personalised offer”, said Clarke who said one outcome would be personalised promotions when a shopper browses its website.
The news that Britain’s biggest independent oil refinery may shut (Report, 29 May) closely follows the closure of England’s only aluminium smelter (Lynemouth) and begs the question, which national newspaper will lead a campaign to save our strategic industries. While the pasty and caravan industries have recently benefited from press cheerleaders, who I wonder will champion these heavy industries
Join us on 8 June to discuss how the social enterprise sector can widen its appeal and become established in mainstream business
Many social entrepreneurs want social enterprise to ‘go mainstream’ – that is, for consumers in a wide range of markets to have the chance to ‘buy social enterprise’ when purchasing goods and services, and for social enterprise to gain traction among the public as means of delivering positive social change.
The $64m question (and, of course, the true value would be much more than this) is: how can social enterprise go mainstream?
During this live Q&A, we will attempt to answer that question and will explore issues such as:
• does a definition of social enterprise help or hinder progress towards going mainstream?
• what lessons, if any, can social enterprise learn from the Fair-trade and organic food movements?
• what part will the media play in the attempt to go mainstream?
• should social enterprise want to be mainstream – or should it remain a movement of agitators and outsiders?
For further reading on how UK social enterprise can ‘go mainstream’, Bokani Tshidzu’s recent article offered lessons from the American South. Elsewhere, a report from Deloitte suggested that, to go mainstream, social enterprises need more support from the government.
Do get in touch if you’d like to be a panellist – email Joe Jervis for more details.
Also, if you’d like to leave a question, please do so in the comments section below, or come back to ask it live – and follow the debate – on Friday 8 June, 1 – 3pm.
Remember – in order to be on the panel and also to participate, you need to register as a member of the Guardian social enterprise network, and log in. Click here to register.
Dodgy deals, free folic acid and cats in pubs
Plan B’s debut film Ill Manors follows recent flick Wild Bill, setting dodgy dealings in the shadow of the Olympic stadium.
Freebie of the week
Asda is giving away free folic acid to women trying to conceive or already pregnant.
Distracted by …
Pubcats.com is devoted to “pusses in pubs”, mapping each feline drinking buddy so you can enjoy a pint with them.
On Saturday at the Underdog gallery in London, people will rap battle with each other to raise money for Depression Alliance.
Carine Roitfeld, ex- French Vogue editor, is doing a makeup line for MAC. Smoky eyes and bold brows all round, then.
Updated from 6:00 p.m. ET to include additional information about the after-hours session.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) — It’s really starting to feel like things could go either way for the stock market in the coming months.
On the one hand, the economic data has been showing some cracks, most recently with a second straight disappointing initial jobless claims report, existing home sales for March coming in well short of consensus, and a not-so-robust Philly Fed read on manufacturing. That feeds right into the repeat of 2011 scenario that many investors fear.
Click to view a price quote on GE.
Click to research the Industrial
Here is the original post: Market Preview: Cashing Out
The New Yorker has published a long and detailed profile of the paper. Here’s the digested version
The New Yorker, renowned for its impeccably researched essays, has this week published an 8,732-word account of the Daily Mail. The magazine’s London correspondent, Lauren Collins, attended editorial meetings and spoke to journalists past and present, including a “courteous, if slightly brittle” editor-in-chief Paul Dacre.
In case you don’t have time for all nine pages, highlights include:
▶ Editorial meetings are referred to as the “vagina monologues” because Dacre uses the c-word to describe his staff.
▶ When Liz Jones wrote a column about stealing her husband’s sperm to impregnate herself, she gained the moniker Jizz Loans.
▶ Despite the burgeoning popularity of the Mail’s website, Dacre doesn’t have a computer in his office.
▶ One editor told Colins: “The paper’s defining ideology is that Britain has gone to the dogs.”