Dave Lewis (businessman)

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Dave Lewis
David John Lewis

March 1965 (age 54)
Yorkshire, England
ResidenceRichmond, London, England
EducationTrent Polytechnic
Years active1987–present
Salary£4.9 million (total compensation, 2017)
TitleCEO, Tesco
PredecessorPhilip Clarke
Spouse(s)Helena Lewis
Children2 daughters (from 1st marriage)

David John Lewis (born 1965) is an English businessman. Since September 2014, he has been the CEO of Tesco.[1][2] Prior to joining Tesco, he was president of global personal care at Unilever.[3]

Early life[edit]

Lewis was born in March 1965,[4] in Yorkshire.[5]


Lewis attended Hills Road Sixth Form College in Cambridge from 1979 to 1981.[6]

After Thorne Grammar School, he went to university, graduating from Trent Polytechnic, now Nottingham Trent University, with a BA in Business Studies in 1987.[7]

In 2002, where he completed a six-week Advanced Management Programme at Harvard Business School.[8] In 2012, Nottingham Trent University awarded Lewis an honorary doctorate.[9]


Lewis worked at Unilever for over 27 years in various posts.[10] In August 2014, he left the company to become CEO of the British multinational retailer Tesco.


In 1987, after graduating from Nottingham Trent University, Lewis obtained a post as graduate trainee at the Anglo-Dutch multinational Unilever, in the UK.[11] He worked at Unilever for 27 years from 1987 until September 2014.[12] Between 1990 and 1992, he worked at National Accounts for the company.[6]

One of the biggest successes of his career at Unilever was in 1992 when he launched Dove (toiletries), a personal care brand, in the UK.[13] The launch of Dove in the UK was seen as a success considering the fact that Dove is now one of Unilever's largest brands contributing $5,885 million to the company for the year 2014.[14] A year later, in 1993, he became company operations manager for Unilever in the UK.[15]

During his 27 years at Unilever, Lewis occupied various posts around the world. After working for the company for 12 years, Lewis moved to South America in 1996 to begin work as Marketing Director of River Plate which involved Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.[16] Three years later, in 1999, he moved to Indonesia where he worked as Managing Director of Unilever for the business of personal care of the country.[17] From results produced by Unilever, Lewis managed to obtain an average annual growth rate of 30% for the business of personal care of Indonesia.[18] He served at this post until September 2001.[6] In 2002, he attended Harvard Business School where he completed the Advanced Management Programme before becoming Senior Vice President for Home and Personal Care of Central and Eastern Europe in 2002. He served at this post for three years. In 2005, he returned to the UK and worked as Managing Director of the UK's home and personal care business.[16]

In 2004, Lewis and his team came up with an unconventional approach called the “Real Beauty” campaign as a marketing strategy for Unilever's Dove brand. This involved using everyday women rather than models in the brand’s advertisements.[19] The campaign has received positive criticism since it has encouraged women to challenge the beauty standards of today’s world.[20]

In 2007, he was appointed chairman of Unilever for UK and Ireland.[21]

In 2010, after working for the company for 23 years, Lewis became president for the Americas.[22] In 2011, he became President of Personal Care of the company.[16] He occupied this post until September 2014 when he became CEO of Tesco.

When working at Unilever, he was nicknamed “Drastic Dave” which was a reflection of his management actions which included shortening the number of products produced by the company from 1600 to 400 and for cutting jobs which led to a massive decrease of 40% in company expenditure for the year 2007. [23] Before the sudden announcement in July 2014 that he would be leaving the company, he was a candidate to become Paul Polman's successor as CEO of Unilever.[24] During his time at Unilever he was seen as an extremely valuable employee and, in a statement, the company said: "we are very sorry to see him go".[25]


In July 2014, it was announced that Lewis was leaving Unilever to become CEO of Tesco.[26][27] This was the result of Tesco’s previous CEO, Philip Clarke, stepping down from his post which he obtained in 2011. Lewis was scheduled to start work as CEO of Tesco on 1 October 2014, but he began work a month earlier than planned, on 1 September 2014.[28]

Lewis became CEO after the debacle when it was revealed to the public that Tesco overestimated their profits by £250 million for the year 2014.[29] Tesco has chosen Lewis to replace Clarke due to the many years of experience Lewis has gained throughout his career at Unilever working at various posts for both the national (UK) market as well as the international market.[30] Lewis also has experience working with Tesco directly, being one of Tesco's largest suppliers of brands including Dove (toiletries), Vaseline and Lynx.[31]

Lewis began working at Tesco in September 2014 with a basic annual salary of £1.25 million.[32]

His total annual pay for financial year 2017, as reported in May 2018, is £4.9 million. [33]

Personal life[edit]

Lewis is divorced from his first wife, with whom he has two daughters, and is married to Helena.[34] They live in Richmond, London.[35][34]

Hobbies and interests[edit]

In interviews he has stated that he likes to stay physically active and particularly enjoys running. He believes and has stated that: "Improving the health and vitality of our people is an essential requirement".[36] In 2008, he participated in the London Marathon sponsored by Flora, one of Unilever’s brands.[37] In an interview for financial website This is Money, he revealed that he completed the marathon in 4 hours and 18 minutes. He has also participated in the annual triathlon held by Unilever.[38] His other hobbies include photography, cooking, and playing golf and racket sports. In an interview for the London Evening Standard he revealed that being surrounded by the river and the park in Richmond, where he currently lives, encourages him to stay physically active.[39]


  1. ^ Jack, Simon (22 September 2014). "Tesco's chief executive Dave Lewis: Full interview". British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  2. ^ Evans, Peter (29 August 2014). "Lewis to Become Tesco Chief Executive a Month Early". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
  3. ^ "Dave Lewis - President, Personal Care". Unilever. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
  4. ^ "Tesco plc". Companies House. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  5. ^ Neate, Rupert (27 July 2014). "We know Dave Lewis can sell soap. Can he really run Tesco?". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  6. ^ a b c "David Lewis Profile". LinkedIn. LinkedIn. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  7. ^ "Alumnus Dave Lewis joins Tesco as Chief Executive". Nottingham Trent University. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  8. ^ "Who is Dave Lewis? Five things to know about new Tesco chief". The Week. 21 July 2014. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  9. ^ "Alumnus Dave Lewis joins Tesco as Chief Executive". Nottingham Trent University. Nottingham Trent University. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  10. ^ Spary, Sara (5 September 2014). "New Tesco boss Dave Lewis pledges to take struggling retailer 'back to the core'". Marketing Magazine. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  11. ^ Strydom, Martin (21 July 2014). "Who is Dave Lewis, Tesco's new chief executive?". The Telegraph. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  12. ^ "Dave Lewis' letter to Tesco staff". 1 September 2014. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  13. ^ Chapman, Matthew (31 July 2014). "Analysis: Tesco's image problem must be addressed by new boss Dave Lewis". Retail Week. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  14. ^ "Statistics and facts on Unilever". Statista. Statista. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
  15. ^ Barrett, Claer; Daneshku, Scheherazade (21 July 2014). "Tesco turns to man behind Dove's 'love your body' campaign". Financial Times. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
  16. ^ a b c "Dave Lewis - President, Personal Care". Unilever. Unilever. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  17. ^ Butler, Sarah; Rankin, Jennifer (21 July 2014). "Tesco's new chief executive Dave Lewis – profile". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
  18. ^ Spence, Peter (21 July 2014). "Dave Lewis: Tesco share prices jumps as investors bet on new CEO's strong Unilever record". City A.M. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
  19. ^ "The Dove® Campaign for Real Beauty". Dove. Dove. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
  20. ^ Scott, Sarah (June 2013). "A Critique of Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty": 13. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
  21. ^ "Lewis, David BRIEF BIOGRAPHY". Reuters. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  22. ^ Rudenko, Anna (2 December 2010). "Dave Lewis, President of the Americas, Unilever,—on the first three steps Unilever will take to move towards its Sustainable Living goals". POPSOP. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  23. ^ Mehboob, Jeelani (14 August 2014). "Dave Lewis: retail's newest strategist". Fortune. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  24. ^ "Who is Dave Lewis, Tesco's new chief executive?". The Telegraph. 22 July 2014. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
  25. ^ Butler, Sarah, Rankin, Jennifer (21 July 2014). "Tesco's new chief executive Dave Lewis – profile". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  26. ^ Sillitoe, Ben (21 July 2014). "struggling Tesco CEO Philip Clarke replaced by Unilever's Lewis - reaction". Essential Retail. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  27. ^ "Tesco CEO replaced by Unilever's Lewis after poor sales". HR Grapevine. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  28. ^ "Who is Dave Lewis? Five things to know about new Tesco chief". The Week. 21 July 2014. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  29. ^ Ridley, Louise (22 September 2014). "Tesco Overestimates Profits By £250 Million And Suspends Four Directors - But Is This Its Darkest Hour Ever?". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  30. ^ "Dave Lewis Profile". Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  31. ^ Somerville, Michael (22 July 2014). "Dave Lewis - from supplier to retailer". Retail Gazette. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
  32. ^ Thompson, Scott (21 July 2014). "Clarke out as Tesco looks to rebound". Retail Systems. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  33. ^ Mattinson, Alec. "Tesco CEO Dave Lewis' pay up 17.5% to £4.9m". thegrocer.co.uk. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  34. ^ a b "BIG SHOT OF THE WEEK: How Dave Lewis hauled Tesco out of the manure". thisismoney.co.uk. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  35. ^ Ashton, James (1 September 2014). "To the rescue of Tesco: Dave Lewis's mission to save UK's biggest supermarket". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
  36. ^ Business in the Community. Physical Activity Toolkit[Brochure]. (May 2009) Business in the Community
  37. ^ "Who is Dave Lewis? Five things to know about new Tesco chief". The Week. 21 July 2014. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  38. ^ "The Interview: Unilever's Dave Lewis". This is Money. 7 September 2008. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  39. ^ Ashton, James (1 September 2014). "To the rescue of Tesco: Dave Lewis's mission to save UK's biggest supermarket". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 12 October 2014.