UK Lidl MD leaves suddenly after overtaking Aldi in the UK with a raft of marketing innovations writes Tim Arnold.
After period of dramatic growth through ‘clever marketing’ and the introduction of many upmarket products, the Guardian this week (9 September) reported that UK Chief Executive Ronny Gottschlich has left the company. Sources say he is likely to face a year of gardening leave.
The Guardian goes on to suggest his relationships with head office ‘cooled’ as he adopted policies different to the parent group such as his focus on marketing and PR as well as the introduction of additional workers’ benefits.
Apparently the increased sales volume has created logistical and profit pressures and the German head office wanted to bring the UK back in line with the rest of the business.
Sacked for successful marketing?
So a successful marketer, under whose reign, Lidl opened 630 stores in just six years – and this year overtook Aldi as the fastest-growing grocer in the UK, has been replaced. Christian Härtnagel, long serving head of sales and operations for Lidl Austria takes over. Aldi Austria has has a more traditional culture, and is seen as an executive training ground.
If the press reports are correct then we have a significant international company eschewing marketing success for conformity and placing emphasis on operations and sales rather than marketing.
A sad week for marketing
Surely if Ronny Gottschlich is to be’blamed’ rather than ‘applauded’ then this a sad week for marketing!! Or are we only seeing half the story…what do you think? We applaud Ronny and wish him every success.