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UK Sparks: Change At The Top At Tesco


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Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis is to step down next summer after six years in the position and will be succeeded by Ken Murphy, formerly president of global brands at Walgreens Boots Alliance. The change was announced alongside interim results showing a 6.7% rise in pre-tax profits to £494m on revenues 0.6% higher at £31.9bn. Operating profits increased by 12.6% to £1.13bn, while there was like-for-like sales growth of 0.2% in the UK and Ireland.

Mr Lewis says: “My decision to step down as group CEO is a personal one.  I believe that the tenure of the CEO should be a finite one and that now is the right time to pass the baton.” Tesco also announced that its Booker cash-and-carry business is to pay a “nominal” sum to acquire Best Food Logistics, which distributes food to customers including Pret a Manger, KFC and Burger King and has £1.1bn of annual food service sales.

Flutter Entertainment, the parent company of gambling brands Paddy Power and Betfair has unveiled a recommended all-share merger with US online gaming business The Stars Group. The combined group would be incorporated, headquartered and domiciled in Dublin, with a premium listing on the London Stock Exchange and a secondary listing on Euronext Dublin. The companies had combined pro-forma annual revenues of £3.8bn in 2018, making the combination the largest online betting and gaming operator globally. Flutter shareholders would own about 54.6% of the company, with investors in The Stars Group, which owns the PokerStars website, holding the remainder.

Martin Gilbert is to stand down from the board of Aberdeen Standard Life. The fund management veteran, who co-founded Aberdeen Asset Management and ran the company for more than three decades before its 2017 merger with Standard Life, stepped down from co-chief executive to vice-chairman in March. The company says he will not seek re-election at its annual meeting in May 2020. Mr Gilbert says his time in the business has been “an incredible journey, almost unimaginable from the earliest days when we were just three people in one office in Aberdeen with £50m under management”. The group now has assets under management of more than £500bn.

Finally, defence technology company QinetiQ Group is to acquire Manufacturing Techniques, a US provider of advanced sensing solutions, for up to $125m. In the 12 months to August 31, the US company generated $167m of revenues and  $11.4m of earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation.

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