Booker boss announces retirement

Wilson plans to step down in February 2021

Scottish Grocer 2015 Award for Industry Achievement
Charles Wilson (second from left), collects the Scottish Grocer Award for Industry Achievement in 2015. Also pictured (from left) Colin Matthews, chief executive of Loch Lomond Group, owner of award sponsor Glen’s Vodka, former Scottish Grocer editor Patrick Duffy and Scottish Grocer Awards 2015 host Rory Bremner.

CHARLES Wilson, chief executive of Booker, is set to retire in February 2021.

Under Wilson’s 15-year tenure at the helm of Booker, the firm has established itself as Britain’s biggest wholesaler. The Booker boss also played a key role in the wholesaler’s merger with Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket.

Wilson’s retirement announcement follows a battle with cancer, which saw him step down from duties temporarily in 2018. Wilson’s cancer remains in remission but, according to a statement from Booker, he has “decided now is the time to step back and take it a little easier.”

Andrew Yaxley, chief product officer at Tesco, will succeed Wilson following a handover process commencing this month.

Wilson commented: “I joined the Booker team 15 years ago. At that time Booker was challenged. Together we turned around the company, improved customer satisfaction and grew to be the leading Wholesaler.

“In 2018 we merged with Tesco. The merger is working well. Customer satisfaction has improved, our sales are up £1.5bn and we are proud to be part of Tesco. It has been a privilege serving our retail and catering customers and a pleasure working with a great team at Tesco/Booker.”

Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis said: “Charles’ reputation in the UK food business is unparalleled and for very good reason. The transformation of Booker over the last 15 years is one of the most remarkable business case studies in recent history. Since the merger with Tesco he has been a superb member of the executive team and a brilliant colleague.

“Whilst we are very sad to see him retire, we completely understand and wish Charles and his family all the very best for the future. I know that he will stay a massive supporter of the Tesco/Booker business and he will always remain a friend to many colleagues.”

In 2015, Scottish Grocer recognised Wilson’s contribution to the nation’s convenience retail sector by honouring him with the Scottish Grocer Award for Industry Achievement.