TESCO, CEO Philip Clarke and Japan

January 12, 2012 | In: Kiyoko Naish

Tesco plunges on profit warning

That is a FT headline today. Why am I writing about TESCO? There is something about it. Last summer after a new CEO Philip Clarke took over from Sir Terry Leahy, he decided to sell its loss-making Japanese business. This news hit the headlines of many newspapers in the UK. They spent 8 years to build up the business under Sir Terry but Mr Clarke didn’t see any sustainability and the growth in the future. He wanted to shift their focus to China, where the growth would be quickly and easily visible. This disappointed me. Did he know anything about Japan/Japanese market/Japanese consumers before having made the decision? It didn’t look like it. I really admired Sir Terry who had a vision and patience to keep the shop going in Japan for eight years. Only if they had a good research company, a business consultant and a competent team of British/Japanese management, it would have been a different story.

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