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'We are building a new Morrisons not a mini-Tesco', says chairman Andy Higginson

Morrisons chairman Andrew Higginson said the grocer will not become a “mini-Tesco” following the appointment of David Potts as its new chief executive.

Potts is a former executive at Tesco, where he worked alongside Higginson for 14 years.

According to Retail Week, Higginson would not be drawn on the details of Potts’ planned strategy, but told Retail Week: “To be fair to him, we’ve got to give him chance to get his feet under the desk, but I know that it will be very much about creating Morrisons, not trying to create a mini-Tesco.

He’ll be focusing on the strengths of Morrisons.”

Higginson said Potts will need time to implement his strategy and said it could take “three to five years” to turn the grocer around, but believes the boss will focus on the strengths of Morrisons rather than trying to imitate the success he achieved at Tesco, where he served as retail and logistics director and headed up the supermarket giant’s Asian business.

He said: “We’ve set out that we want to focus on the core supermarkets and really get some trading momentum back into those. That’s very much what he’ll be focusing on and of course he’s a great trader, so we are optimistic about that.

“The rebuilding job for these supermarkets is not a five minute job. It’s going to take a while to turn that around.

“David will definitely have a personal impact in the business quite quickly, but changing customer behaviour will take three to five years to get it properly back on its feet.”

Potts’ appointment as Morrisons new chief executive this morning was described by some analysts as “not unexpected” given the time the duo previously spent working together at Tesco.

But Higginson maintained Potts was appointed following a “worldwide” search that was whittled down to four “very, very good candidates, any one of whom could have done the job really well”.

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