Morrisons boss delivers ‘burning candle’ warning to staff as he calls for change

The new boss of Morrisons has reportedly delivered a stark warning to employees calling for change.

Chief Executive Officer Rami Baitiéh is said to have told employees in an early briefing to staff at its head office that businesses are like candles that will “burn out” unless they change.


Mr Baitiéh joined Morrisons last month, having previously worked at French supermarket giant Carrefour.

The new CEO has been described as a turnaround specialist at struggling companies.

Morrisons’ new CEO Rami Baitiéh began the role last month after a two-month handover

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Mr Baitiéh sought to inject a sense of urgency among staff, by highlighting issues at Morrisons, The Times reports.

A Morrisons insider reportedly said: “It was a ‘gulp’ moment for everyone.”

The new boss reportedly holds one-hour sessions on the instant messaging platform Google Chat each evening from Monday to Saturday with the top 150 managers at the retailer.

Mr Baitiéh took over the role of CEO from David Potts, who stood down last month after nine years in the job.

Mr Potts led a turnaround at the Bradford-based group, steering it through the coronavirus pandemic and expanding its convenience store business through the acquisition of McColl’s.

However, Morrisons’ performance lagged major rivals recently.

In September, Morrisons said Mr Baitiéh had a record of improving competitiveness, expanding market share and accelerating growth in his more than 25 years at French group Carrefour.

Rami Baitiéh said at the time: “Morrisons holds a special place for shoppers across the UK, and I am honoured to be joining the business to help build on the strong links the company has with its loyal customers and the communities where it operates.

“As a manufacturer, wholesaler and seller of food, Morrisons is uniquely positioned to grow in the coming years while remaining deeply focused on customer satisfaction. I also want to acknowledge the talented and hard-working members of the Morrisons team that continue to make Morrisons an employer of choice in Britain.

Morrisons More Card in pictures

Morrisons’ new CEO took over from David Potts, who announced he was stepping down in September

PA

“Our people are our great strength and I see tremendous opportunity for team development in the coming months and years. I look forward to building on David’s strong legacy of always putting shoppers first and thank him for his help in the transition.”

Morrisons was taken over for £7billion ($8.5billion) by US private equity group Clayton, Dubilier and Rice in 2021.

It gave it a hefty debt burden, which, in September, stood at around £5.4billion.

The deal, which was made before the steep rise in interest rates, has left Morrisons on the hook for £400million of annual interest payments on £6.6billion of debt, The Times reports.

GB News has contacted Morrisons asking for comment.

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