February 1, 2011
After graduating with an economics degree from Liverpool university, he joined Tesco's management trainee scheme in 1981. Roles as a store manager, product buyer and marketeer followed.
He joined the Tesco board in 1998 and has worked closely alongside [outgoing CEO Sir Terry Leahy] as the group has expanded overseas, taking on the likes of Wal-Mart and Carrefour. That international experience, say sources, was key to him winning the job. Tesco's growth in the coming years will likely be driven by the success of its international operations. (End of excerpt.) That's certainly true, but Clarke's outlook also underscores that he'll be leaning on his experiences in orchestrating a massive set of global applications and processes as Tesco continues to expand into new geographic markets with new offerings for consumers. "The delicatessen counter in China has to be different from the delicatessen counter in Korea, but behind the scenes we have tried to make sure that our business processes, our systems, our structures—everything is laid out for countries," Clarke is quoted as saying in the Telegraph.com piece. Clarke led Tesco's expansion into India and South Korea, the article said, and among his priorities is ensuring that Tesco has not only the systems required to operate on such a scale, but also the collaborative culture that will allow it to move as fast as its customers in pursuing ideas and opportunities. And to do that, Clarke told the Telegraph, he'll need to spend significant time away from corporate headquarters and be immersed in the marketplace with customers, suppliers, stores, and employees—all of which sounds like perfect advice for today's CIOs, whether or not they aspire to be a CEO. "I'm not going to run Tesco from Cheshunt," he said. "What I love to do is walk the stores, meet the staff and listen to the customers, because it all happens there. As chief executive my job is to be sure that we are meeting the needs of customers and that we are looking after our staff." Replacing Clarke as CIO will be the company's current IT director, Mike McNamara, who as CIO will report to Clarke, according to a news story on the computing.co.uk website. Earlier in his Tesco career, McNamara had been the CTO of the retailer's online business. RECOMMENDED READING: Global CIO: HP Calls Out Apple In CEO's Quest To Be Coolest Of All Global CIO: Larry Ellison Vows To 'Go After' HP; Is Alliance Dead? Global CIO: IBM Zings Oracle And HP Over Limited Vision Global CIO: Silicon Valley Crackup: Oracle & HP Killing 25-Year Alliance? Global CIO: HP's New Strategy Will Intensify Battles With IBM And Oracle Global CIO: The Top 10 CIO Issues For 2011 Global CIO: Are HP And SAP Perfect Match Or Train Wreck? Global CIO: Gunning For IBM And Oracle, HP Plans Optimized-Systems Blitz Global CIO: The PC Is Dying: Long Live The iPad! Global CIO: Larry Ellison And IBM Lead Surge In Optimized Systems Global CIO: An Open Letter To IBM CEO Sam Palmisano Global CIO: Apple Storms The Enterprise As iPad And iPhone Surge Global CIO: Steve Jobs Declares War On Google Global CIO: Apple, IBM, Or Microsoft: Who Has #1 Most-Valuable Software Product? Global CIO: The Rise Of Analytics Triggers The Fall Of The Tactical CIO Global CIO: IBM Leads IT Industry With Surge In Analytics And Hardware Global CIO: Larry Ellison's 10-Point Plan For World Domination Global CIO: SAP's Striking Turnaround Triggered By Customer-Centric Strategy Global CIO: Top 10 Tech Stories Of The Year: The Complete List Global CIO: HP CEO Leo Apotheker's Agenda: What Will He Do First? Global CIO: The Top 10 Most-Influential IT Vendors Global CIO: Larry Ellison Swaps Cloud Rants For Cloud Love With Exalogic Bob Evans is senior VP and director of InformationWeek's Global CIO unit.
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