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Reuters has a profile of Dave Lewis, the longtime Unilever executive who has been chosen by Tesco's board to replace Philip Clarke as the troubled retailer's new CEO. According to the story, Lewis spent more than a quarter-century at Unilever, where he "turned around a string of operations including the consumer giant's British business, cutting costs and energising staff with innovative marketing campaigns." Lewis also is described as someone adept at creating a strong management team, something else that Tesco is seen as needing, since many top executives left during Clarke's tenure.

While Lewis has no direct retail experience, Reuters writes, "Interviews with several people who know Lewis describe him as 'very bright,' 'tough as old boots' and 'entrepreneurial,' yet 'unpretentious' and 'self effacing.' At dinners with analysts, he seeks their views instead of doing all the talking. 'The fact that he's not a shopkeeper and he hasn't got a history of being in retail will partly be to his advantage and partly will be his challenge. He will be a breath of fresh air,'" one former Tesco board member tells the news service.
KC's View:
There seem to be a lot of organizational changes on which Lewis needs to focus, not to mention improving morale at a company where Clarke was perceived as being imperious. But the big decision he faces - and the Reuters story alludes to this - is strategic - does Tesco take on thriving discounters such as Aldi and Lidl in an all-out price war, or should the company instead stake out a competitive position that establishes it as an alternative without making price the be-all and end-all?