Former Mondelez International executive Imran Nawaz will step in as CFO of British grocer Tesco in April 2021, the company announced Wednesday.
Nawaz brings experience in the food and consumer goods space, including a recent stint as CFO of Tate & Lyle, a Britain-based food and beverage ingredients supplier.
The news comes as Tesco, the United Kingdom's largest grocery chain by market share, navigates an unstable economy and an exit from the European Union.
Nawaz will replace Alan Stewart, who has led Tesco's finance since 2014, and will retire in April. News of Stewart's planned retirement was announced in June, when Tesco said it was conducting a search for a replacement.
"He has led the corporate restructuring, rebuilt the balance sheet, guided Tesco back to investment grade and played a huge role in the financial transformation of the business in the last six years," Tesco said of Stewart at the time.
Before joining Tate & Lyle in 2018, Nawaz spent nearly a decade in various finance leadership roles at Mondelez, including as senior VP of Finance for the European Union division, for the Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa division, and the VP of finance for Europe's chocolate business.
Prior to Mondelez, Nawaz spent seven years in finance leadership at pre-merger Kraft Foods Group, and five years managing audit at Philip Morris International. Per his LinkedIn page, Nawaz's career began in auditing at Deloitte's New York office.
Nawaz is expected to steer Tesco through economic challenges stemming from the pandemic and the aftermath of Brexit, Dutch bank ING Groep NV credit strategist Alyssa Gammoudy told The Wall Street Journal.
Britain's transition period with the EU is set to end in December, and the future trading relationship with the bloc remains unclear. Tesco, one of the world's largest grocery chains by sales, generates most of its revenue in the U.K., but relies on EU imports for a portion of its produce, the Journal said.
Nawaz will start his new role with a solid balance sheet, analysts said. On an earnings call Wednesday, the company announced its agreement to sell its Polish, Thai and Malaysian operations to pay down its debt.
"In the coming years, more investments are inevitable, and the main challenge is to do so whilst protecting the margins," Gammoudy told the Journal.