Sir Terry Leahy
Terence Patrick Leahy
28 February 1956
|Known for||CEO of Tesco Stores|
Sir Terence Patrick "Terry" Leahy (born 28 February 1956) is a British businessman, previously the CEO of Tesco, the largest British retailer and the third-largest retailer in the world measured by revenues.
Born in Belle Vale, Liverpool to Irish immigrants, Leahy grew up in a prefabricated home in Endbrook Road. His father, a merchant seaman, was injured in World War II and worked as a bookmaker to support the family. Leahy attended Our Lady of the Assumption Primary School, L25. He passed the 11+ exam and earned a scholarship to attend St. Edward's College, Liverpool a direct grant grammar school. He credits these institutions as providing scaffolding for ascent out of an impoverished background. He began working (including a job stacking shelves at Tesco) and went on to study at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) where he gained his BSc (Hons) in Management Sciences and graduated in 1977. He earned his MBA from The Wharton School.
Following his then girlfriend to London, he applied to become a product manager for Turkey Foil but was turned down. He applied for a job at Tesco, but lost out to another candidate. After that candidate was quickly reassigned upwards, Leahy returned to Tesco in 1979 as a marketing executive.
Tesco was a resolute market follower of the two leading brands, Marks & Spencer as the then world's most profitable retailer, and Sainsbury's as the world's most profitable food retailer. Leahy concluded that Tesco should stop following a strategy of catch-up and start leading through market knowledge, which led to his success in devising and implementing the Tesco Clubcard loyalty programme and also monitoring the shopping habits of Clubcard holders.
Leahy was appointed to the board in 1992, and in 1995 Tesco became the UK's biggest retailer. Leahy became chief executive in 1997, on the retirement of Lord MacLaurin (formerly his mentor) who wanted to appoint a successor to lead international expansion and increased market share. Tesco stretched its lead as the UK's largest retailer and also grew internationally: Leahy continued to visit a Tesco store somewhere every week, normally on a Friday.
Following Tesco's announcement of £2 billion in profits in April 2005, Leahy hit back against protests that the company was "too successful". During his tenure, he increased the company's UK market share from 20pc to 30pc.
On 8 June 2010, Tesco announced that Leahy was to retire as chief executive in March 2011. Leahy has been paid £8.42m in performance related bonuses since his departure from Tesco, in addition to a pension pot worth £18.4m at the time of his departure. Since then he has focused on startup investments.
Following his departure from Tesco Leahy was appointed the chairman of the board of B&M Retail in December 2012. Sir Terry is a senior adviser to CD&R. He is also currently[when?] a Director of Blackcircles.com. In 2017, it was announced that he would step down as chairman from B&M after five years. During this time, he steered the retailer on to the stock market. Revenues also rose from £993m to £2.7bn as a result of an aggressive expansion plan, which also saw its store portfolio increase from 331 shops to 893.
Leahy was chosen as Britain's "Business Leader of the Year" in 2003 and the Fortune European Businessman of the Year for 2004. In 2005, he was selected as Britain's most admired business leader by Management Today, and a Guardian Unlimited Politics panel found him to be the most influential non-elected person in Britain in 2007.
He was Chancellor of UMIST, his alma mater, from 2002 until 1 October 2004, when he became one of two co-chancellors of the University of Manchester, when UMIST and the Victoria University of Manchester were merged into a new university. He was given an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Cranfield University on 7 June 2007. 
Leahy is an Everton Football Club supporter and is a special advisor to the club. He is also part of a proposed ground move to Kirkby which would have a new ground with a Tesco supermarket, a hotel, a range of high street shops and extensive car parking.
Leahy's book Management in 10 Words was published by Random House Business Books in June 2012.
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