1/19/2011 12:25:00 PM
Tesco Mobile CEO Batchelor to leave in March
Tesco Mobile CEO Lance Batchelor is quitting Tesco in March ‘to pursue other opportunities’. He will be replaced by Tesco’s commercial director Graham Harris.
A Tesco spokeswoman confirmed Batchelor’s departure. She insisted Batchelor was leaving by choice to pursue ‘an amazing, brilliant opportunity’, but declined to give details of Batchelor’s new post.
She told Mobile: ‘Lance Batchelor is to leave at the end of this financial year to pursue other interests and take up other opportunities. Graham Harris will take on his role as CEO of Tesco Telecoms and Tesco Mobile.’
She refuted industry speculation that Bachelor was leaving under a cloud, pointing to Tesco’s latest trading figures for Christmas 2010, which revealed that, despite the bad weather, Tesco Mobile had increased its customer base to more than 2.5 million customers.
She said: ‘Nothing could be further from the truth. Tesco Mobile is performing excellently under Lance Batchelor’s leadership, as our latest trading figures show, and we are very sorry to lose him but he is leaving to pursue a brilliant, new opportunity for himself.’
Batchelor joined Tesco in 2007 as marketing director, rising rapidly up the ranks to become CEO of Tesco Mobile and Tesco Telecoms. He was previously marketing director at Vodafone.
Under Batchelor’s leadership Tesco Mobile has seen rapid growth, opening around 200 Tesco Mobile stores to date and with a brief to deliver 500 instore shops by 2013. This will place it as the third largest UK mobile retailer after the combined offering of Orange and T-Mobile, which has 613 shops and Carphone Warehouse, which has 813 stores in its retail estate.
Sam Hart, retail analyst at Charles Stanley said Harris’s appointment in place of Batchelor was a typical move for Tesco.
‘Tesco like to promote from within, usually, so this may indicate a return to that policy now Tesco Mobile is established.’
One mobile distributor said: ‘When Lance Batchelor came on board Tesco Mobile didn’t have enough people with telecoms expertise. That was addressed but I think Tesco went overboard on that front and lost a lot of the people from within Tesco who really understood the core values and ethos which has made Tesco into the success it is. I think Harris will need to address that disparity so that they don’t kill the golden goose.’