Ex-Tesco executive Andrew Dixon says his priority as Uchumi Supermarket’s #ticker:UCHM new chief operating officer (COO) will be restocking its outlets upon receipt of fresh capital in a bid to reclaim the retail chain’s brand.
Mr Dixon, who until last month was Nakumatt’s chief marketing officer, added that recapitalisation of the business will also help him motivate its employees who have on several occasions had their salaries delayed for months.
He joined Nakumatt in November 2016 in a rare appointment by family-centric Nakumatt seeking external help to turn around the business that is struggling precariously under the weight of debt.
Uchumi, which is itself loss-making and struggling to stay afloat, will now be relying on Mr Dixon’s retail expertise to help turn around its business as management chases a Sh3.5 billion capital injection from an unnamed investor.
“I joined Nakumatt in the belief that there was fresh capital being injected into the company. When that did not materialise, it was difficult for me to fully execute my plans,” he told the Business Daily.
“It is public knowledge that recapitalisation is imminent at Uchumi. A well-capitalised business will allow us restock outlets and redevelop our customer base. We are also already laying out new strategies for the business.”
Mr Dixon joined Tesco Plc, the UK-based multinational retail chain in 1993 as a marketing controller in charge of its health and beauty instore concept.
Over the nine years, he held several positions at the retailer, the last one being the director of Clubcard, its customer loyalty programme and the largest in Europe.
Uchumi in August 2015 poached Naivas marketing manager Willy Kimani and appointed him COO. However, in June 2016 Mr Kimani went back to Naivas, this time as COO. Uchumi hired a consultant, Peter Mbatia, to replace him as it searched for a permanent replacement.
“Mr Dixon has extensive experience in the retail sector and the board is confident that his expertise will support the ongoing efforts towards achieving a turnaround in the operations and business of the company,” Julius Kipng’etich, Uchumi chief executive, said in a notice Wednesday.