Blackhurst quits as Morrisons customer chief after 3 months

Struggling supermarket chain Morrisons has been dealt another blow to its turnaround plans, with the sudden departure of a key executive just months after being appointed.

Darren Blackhurst, who rejoined Morrisons in February as interim chief customer and marketing officer, has quit the role after only three months. His exit comes hot on the heels of logistics director Craig Taylor's resignation in recent weeks.

The seasoned retail veteran Blackhurst was brought back by new chief executive Rami Baitiéh, joining from French grocer Carrefour last November. Blackhurst's interim position was expected to become permanent as part of Baitiéh's leadership overhaul aimed at reviving Morrisons' fortunes.

However, there has been an exodus of senior ranks at the Bradford-based firm's headquarters since Baitiéh took over. Rami Baitiéh is said to have no plans to replace the eight executives, including retail, non-food and own-brand directors, who have departed over the past few months.

Sources suggest Blackhurst struggled to readjust to life in the executive suite after running the alcohol business for Australian chain Coles for four years following his previous Morrisons stint from 2015-2019 as commercial director.

The upheaval comes as Baitiéh seeks to rebuild market share and address customer complaints by improving product availability. Morrisons has lost 23 per cent of its customer base in three years, floundering since a £7bn leveraged buyout in 2021 by private equity owners saddled it with billions in debt as interest rates rose.

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