Former Marks & Spencer head Stuart Rose has been touted as Asda’s next chairman in the latest shake-up of the supermarket’s board.
It comes after the surprise departure of Asda chief executive Roger Burnley this month, following a talk with the Big 4 grocer’s owners, Mohsin and Zuber Issa.
Rose is already chairman of EG Group, the petrol station business also owned by the Issa brothers.
His appointment would mean a third top job in groceries, after serving as Marks & Spencer chief executive from 2004 to 2011 and as Ocado chairman until May this year.
A senior source told The Times that it was a “safe bet that Rose’s appointment happens soon”.
Another admitted it was a possibility but said the planned appointment could still be scuppered.
Some have claimed that grocery high-fliers had avoided Asda jobs over concerns of the Issas’ handling of the business.
“It’s a great opportunity but you’ve got to accept that you won’t be calling the shots, they want to run it in the way they want,” one insider said.
“That’s where the danger is.”
Burnley resigned from the Big 4 grocer three weeks ago, having previously said he was “fully committed” to staying in his post until 2022.
His departure came weeks after the competition watchdog allowed the Issas to take direct charge of day-to-day operations.
Ian McLeod, currently the head of Asian retailer Dairy Farm International, is seen as a frontrunner for the vacant chief executive job.
He worked for the Big 4 grocer in the 1990s, when he helped steer it away from bankruptcy and towards a £6.7 billion sale to Walmart.
John Fallon was appointed chief financial officer this year after Rob McWilliam, his former boss, left in April.