Asda HR chief bows out after 15 years at food retailer

Asda’s people director David Smith has insisted he is proud of his legacy ahead of his departure at the end of this week.

Smith retires on 30 January after 15 years at the supermarket chain to pursue part-time work as an industry speaker and consultant. He will be replaced on an interim basis by Caroline Massingham, retail people director for George, Asda’s clothing arm.

“It’s been a life plan for a long time to retire in my early 50s,” he told Personnel Today.“But it is a real wrench leaving the business. There something very special here of real merit.

“I’m most proud of the high–performance culture we created at Asda,” he added. High employee engagement scores among its 130,000-strong workforce and low staff turnover havecontributed to the firm’s success, and Asda was named the UK’s top employer in the Sunday Times Top 100 Best Companies to Work Forin 2002 and has since featuredregularly on the list.

Smith was ranked 13th in Personnel Today’s Top 40 HR Power Players 2008 list. He gained plaudits for his work in introducing new flexible working schemes and the retailer’sown apprenticeship programme.

He is also taking time to write a book, entitled Adsa Magic: Seven Principles of a High Performance Culture, which he hopes to publish in the autumn.

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