Asda lines up Rose and Carnwath for boardroom roles

Two of Britain’s leading corporate figures are being appointed as directors of supermarket chain Asda as its shareholders forge closer ties to the fuel retailer they also own.

Sky News has learnt that Lord Rose of Monewden, the former Marks & Spencer and Ocado chairman, and Dame Alison Carnwath, the former Land Securities chair, will join the UK’s third-biggest grocer by market share in non-executive roles.

Lord Rose will become Asda’s chairman, with both appointments likely to be announced as soon as this week, an insider said on Tuesday.

Image: Lord Rose is best-known for his tenure at the helm of M&S

The move will be significant because the duo – who also served on the board of Land Securities together – are both directors of EG Group, the petrol stations giant.

EG’s founders, Mohsin Issa and his brother Zuber, jointly own both that business and Asda with TDR Capital, a London-based private equity firm.


The board appointments could spark speculation that a full merger of EG and Asda is a possibility, although that is not thought to be a short-term option for the shareholders.

Last month, it emerged that a deal for EG Group to acquire Asda’s fuel retailing assets had been abandoned, prompting the supermarket chain to take on hundreds of millions of pounds of additional borrowing.

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The Issas and TDR acquired Asda for nearly £7bn last year, soon after which they announced that Roger Burnley, the grocer’s long-serving chief executive, would step down.

Asda is yet to name a successor to Mr Burnley.

The appointments of Lord Rose and Dame Alison, who has also been a director of Barclays and BP, will be seen as a move to bolster corporate governance at Asda.

Image: Dame Alison Carnwath. Pic: Zurich

Between them, Asda and EG employ hundreds of thousands of people in the UK.

Asda has been contacted for comment.