Walmart's Sean Clarke to replace Andy Clarke as Asda boss
Asda boss Andy Clarke is to step down in July, with the supermarket's US owner, Walmart, drafting in the head of its Chinese operations to lead the British firm.
Sean Clarke, who has also held top roles for Walmart in Japan and Canada, will take up the position of president and chief executive on July 11.
The move comes as a surprise after Andy Clarke said last week that he would be succeeded by incoming chief operating officer Roger Burnley, adding that the pair will first spend time together before he hands over the reins.
However, Walmart said Mr Burnley will instead take up the position of deputy chief executive and chief operating officer, adding that Andy Clarke will remain with the business until the end of July, after which he will serve as an adviser for the remainder of 2016.
He has served as chief executive for six years and leaves with the supermarket struggling, with Asda revealing another hefty sales slump in May, reporting its seventh consecutive quarter of sliding sales.
David Cheesewright, president and chief executive of Walmart, said: "We must have the right talent in place to lead our businesses through times of change.
"Sean is one of our most experienced global executives, and through his leadership we will build upon the momentum of Project Renewal to reposition Asda in a very competitive market place."
The chain's revival plan, dubbed Project Renewal, involves pumping hundreds of millions into cutting prices for shoppers in a fightback against its Big Four rivals and discounters Aldi and Lidl.