Morrisons’ new boss gives ‘burning candle’ warning amid turnaround plans

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MORRISONS’ new boss has given a major “burning candle” warning to staff amid turnaround plans.

The new boss of Morrisons, Rami Baitiéh, has told staff that the supermarket chain needs an “urgent overhaul”.

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Sales at Morrisons, which employs 105,000 people, rose 3.7% in the 12 weeks to the end of November, but they are still considerably lower than the broader industryCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Rami Baitiéh, the former chief executive of Carrefour France and newly named chief executive of Morrisons, has warned that the company needs a major overhaul

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Rami Baitiéh, the former chief executive of Carrefour France and newly named chief executive of Morrisons, has warned that the company needs a major overhaulCredit: Reuters

He told staff that businesses are like “candles that will burn out unless they change” at a recent meeting.

A Morrisons insider told the The Times that “It was a a ‘gulp’ moment for everyone,” went they heard the news.

At 7pm each evening, from Monday to Saturday, the top 150 staff members at the supermarket chain are required to join Mr Baitiéh on an hour-long meeting.

These are used by Mr Baitiéh to share what he has learnt and observed from his regular unannounced store visits.

The Morrisons boss has even put his email address on the complaints section of the supermarket’s website and shares many of these with staff.

As far as change goes, Mr Baitiéh has said that he wants to hand more power to both buyers and store managers.

He also wants to vastly improve in-store stock.

Sales at Morrisons, which employs 105,000 people, rose 3.7% in the 12 weeks to the end of November, considerably lower than the broader industry.

David Potts, the ex-chief executive, led a turnaround at the Bradford-based group, steering it through the coronavirus pandemic and expanding its convenience store business through the acquisition of McColl’s.

But Morrisons’ problems can largely be traced back to 2021 when private equity giant Clayton Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) paid a knockout £7 billion to acquire the chain.

And Morrisons’ performance continues to lag major rivals.

Mr Potts will be replaced as chief executive officer by Mr Baitiéh, the former chief of Carrefour France, in November.

At the time, the retailer said Mr Baitiéh would work closely with his predecessor to ensure a “smooth handover period”.

Mr Baitiéh said: “Morrisons holds a special place for shoppers across the UK, and I am honoured to be joining the business to help build on the strong links the company has with its loyal customers and the communities where it operates.

“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.”

Morrisons came under fire in November after it was revealed that it had plans to convert scores of self-scan tills to card only.

The high street favourite reckons increasing numbers of punters no longer wish to pay using coins and notes since the Covid-19 pandemic.

But some customers are up in arms at the move first spotted by Sun investigators at the Caterham store.

And campaigners have branded the move “sneaky”.

Critics say the move – which is being rolled out at stores nationwide – will leave scores of shoppers who still rely on cash struggling to pay.





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