Lidl UK chief operating officer Martin Bailie quits

Lidl UK chief operating officer Martin Bailie is quitting the discount retailer after 14 years to pursue “another opportunity”. Bailie, who only took up the role in September last year having previously spent four years as chief operating officer of its Irish business, will leave Lidl on November 30.

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The discounter said he had been “offered a job opportunity outside the business”.

His departure comes just weeks after Lidl UK boss Ronny Gottschlich departed the business after six years at the helm, while Chris Walker, who previously shared the chief operating officer role with Bailie, has also left to join grocery rival Asda.

Gottschlich has been replaced as boss by 34-year-old Christian Härtnagel, who was drafted in from its Austrian division last month.

Härtnagel’s arrival has sparked a number of changes at the top, with three new executives joining him on Lidl’s UK board.

Tim Ulbrich joins from Lidl Germany as operations board director, while Robert Ryan, who previously served as regional director for the grocer’s Northfleet warehouse, takes up a similar role.

Bailie had been expected to share responsibility for the discounter’s logistics and store networks with Ulbrich and Ryan following the board changes.

He will stay on until the end of November to hand over responsibilities to the duo.

Separately, the German grocer has also poached Virgin Atlantic vice-president of people Nan Gibson to take up the role of human resources board director.

Härtnagel said: “Martin has played an integral role at Lidl for the last 14 years, providing the business with invaluable leadership.

“While it is with great sadness that we announce he is leaving us, we fully support him in his decision and we wish him the very best success in his future personal and professional life.”

Bailie added: “I’ve enormously enjoyed my time with Lidl since joining as a graduate many years ago.

“I’m very grateful for the challenge and responsibilities that have been offered to me during my time here as well as the fantastic opportunities to develop and progress.”

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