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Tesco CEO to be replaced by Unilever exec

British retailing giant Tesco Plc on Monday said CEO Philip Clarke would step down in October, to be replaced by 27-year Unilever executive Dave Lewis, with the change effective Oct. 1.

New York -- British retailing giant Tesco Plc on Monday said CEO Philip Clarke would step down in October, to be replaced by 27-year Unilever executive Dave Lewis, with the change effective Oct. 1. Clarke, who has been with Tesco for 40 years, will remain with the retailer until January 2015.

(See related story: Planet Retail commentary on Tesco’s new CEO)

Also on Monday, Tesco said recent sales had been more challenging than anticipated and its profit in the first half of its financial year would be below expectations. It was the second profit warning issued since Clarke took the reins of the company in March 2011.

"Having guided Tesco through a substantial repositioning in challenging markets, Philip Clarke agreed with the board that this is the appropriate moment to hand over to a new leader with fresh perspectives and a new profile," Tesco chairman Richard Broadbent said in a statement.

The incoming Tesco CEO, who is credited with revamping a succession of businesses at Unilever, currently serves as its global president of personal care.

“Dave Lewis brings a wealth of international consumer experience and expertise in change management, business strategy, brand management and customer development,” Broadbent said. “He is already known to many people inside Tesco having worked with the business over many years in his roles at Unilever. The board believes that with Dave’s leadership Tesco will sustain and improve its leading position in the retail market."