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As expected, Tesco’s UK chief, Richard Brasher, announced yesterday that he was stepping down, to be replaced in that role by Tesco CEO Phillip Clarke, who clearly feels the need to exert control over a part of the business seeing a decline in market share.

In making the announcement, Brasher circulated the following memo to company employees:

After 25 great years at Tesco I have decided to step down from the Board as CEO of the UK and Republic of Ireland, and to leave the business in July once I have effected a smooth transition of the UK business to Philip.

Given my deep loyalty to Tesco and to all of you who work in it, this has been a very difficult decision.  I have been privileged to be a part of a truly great journey over the past two decades.  Together we have built an outstanding business.

I have felt immensely proud over the past year to lead Tesco in the UK and Ireland – still by any measure the strong, beating heart of the Group.  The UK is a great business full of great people.  With the right investment plan, some care and the determination and pride we all share, we can not only regain lost ground but reach new heights.

I know that Philip entirely shares my views and appreciates that the success of the UK business is pivotal to the success of the Group.  I respect his determination to be even more closely involved in it.  However, if even the best of teams is to succeed, it must have only one captain.  Any lack of clarity on this damages the team, and hence why I am clear that my decision is the right one for Tesco.

I will leave with my many fond memories.  Above all, I will always remember the commitment of all of you to do the right thing both for customers and for your teams.  This is what has defined us in the past and I am confident is what will continue to define you in the future, however strong the headwinds or the temptation to take a different path.

I wish each and every one of you the very best for the future.  Be confident in doing the right thing, especially when it is hard.  And remember the power of a gift.  If as you go through life you give a little more than you take, you will not only enjoy life more, you will get back more than you could ever imagine.

Good luck and my very best, as always...

KC's View:
Classy guy. And when people behave in a way that is commendable, it ought to be recognized.

I know it is hardly an apples-to-apples comparison, but it struck me as particularly interesting in the wake of the resignation letter written by Goldman Sachs employee Greg Smith - and run in the New York Times - in which he accused the company of having a poisonous culture that puts its own profits above customers’ needs. “It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off,” Smith wrote.

I don’t want to slam Smith here - it was one of the great kiss-off resignations of all time. And maybe it will bring needed attention to a business sector that deserves to be eviscerated from time to time.

Still, it does seem a little petty when compared to the language used by Brasher.