Tesco names Booker boss as new UK chief as it raises profit forecast

The Booker chief executive, Charles Wilson, is to run Tesco’s core UK and Ireland retail operations following Tesco’s £3.7bn takeover of the wholesaler next month.

The highly regarded Booker boss will become chief executive of Tesco’s UK and Ireland retail and wholesale operations, replacing Matt Davies who is leaving the group at the end of April.

Tesco shareholders are due to vote on the Booker acquisition at a meeting on 28 February and the deal is expected to complete on 5 March. Tesco will publish documents containing more details later on Monday.

The supermarket group now expects to make at least £1.575bn in operating profit excluding one-off items for the year to 24 February. This is slightly ahead of City expectations of £1.564bn, and above last year’s £1.28bn profit. Tesco posted underlying growth of 1.9% over the key Christmas weeks.

Tesco said it would pay a final dividend of 2p a share for the year, following an interim dividend of 1p in October – the first such payment to shareholders since 2014-15.

The Tesco group chief executive, Dave Lewis, said Wilson was “ideally suited” to lead the UK and Ireland business in the next phase of Tesco’s turnaround. “He brings substantial commercial and retail experience and has an exceptional track record of increasing performance and driving growth in customer-focused businesses,” Lewis said.

The Booker deal has been waved through by the competition watchdog, despite rival wholesalers warning it could drive them out of business. Some major Tesco shareholders – Schroders and Artisan Partners – have also voiced opposition to the acquisition, urging Lewis to focus on the supermarket group’s turnaround instead.