Terry Leahy
Sir Terry Leahy is a former CEO of Tesco
Tesco plc is a global grocery and general merchandise retailer headquartered in Cheshunt, United Kingdom. It is the third-largest retailer in the world measured by revenues and the second-largest measured by profits...

, the largest British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

A supermarket, a form of grocery store, is a self-service store offering a wide variety of food and household merchandise, organized into departments...


He lives in Cuffley
Cuffley is a village in the Welwyn Hatfield district of south-east Hertfordshire located between Cheshunt and Potters Bar. It has a population of just over 4,000 people. Politically, Cuffley is part of Broxbourne Constituency in the House of Commons, and sends a Councillor to Hertfordshire County...

, Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the East region of England. The county town is Hertford.The county is one of the Home Counties and lies inland, bordered by Greater London , Buckinghamshire , Bedfordshire , Cambridgeshire and...

, with his wife, Alison and his three children.

Early life

Leahy was born and grew up in in a pre-fab maisonette on a council estate in the Belle Vale
Belle Vale, Liverpool
Belle Vale is a district of south-east Liverpool, Merseyside, England and a Liverpool City Council Ward that covers both Belle Vale and Netherley.-Description:...

 district of Liverpool
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

, the third of four brothers. He attended St. Edward's College
St. Edward's College
St. Edward's College is a voluntary aided, Catholic school in the UK located in the West Derby suburb of Liverpool. The institution was formerly a boys grammar school run by the Congregation of Christian Brothers, known widely as The Irish Christian Brothers...

 which was, at the time, a Catholic direct grant grammar school
Direct grant grammar school
A direct grant grammar school was a selective secondary school in England and Wales between 1945 and 1976 funded partly by the state and partly through private fees....

. Leahy had worked briefly stacking shelves and washing floors in the Wandsworth
Wandsworth is a district of south London, England, in the London Borough of Wandsworth. It is situated southwest of Charing Cross. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London.-Toponymy:...

 branch of Tesco in school holidays, travelling to London because he could not find work in Liverpool. He was the only one of his brothers who didn't leave school at the age of sixteen and graduated from UMIST with an Upper Second Class honours in Management Sciences in 1977.


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
Marks & Spencer
Marks and Spencer plc is a British retailer headquartered in the City of Westminster, London, with over 700 stores in the United Kingdom and over 300 stores spread across more than 40 countries. It specialises in the selling of clothing and luxury food products...

 as the then world's most profitable retailer, and Sainsburys 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
Tesco Clubcard
Tesco Clubcard is the loyalty card of leading British supermarket chain Tesco. The Clubcard scheme operates in the UK, Ireland, Poland and several other countries, and in the UK market in particular has been highly successful, with over 15 million members as of 2010.-History:In 1993 Terry Leahy...

 loyalty program and also successfully monitoring the shopping habits, movements, and political opinions 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 mentor Lord MacLaurin
Ian MacLaurin, Baron MacLaurin of Knebworth
Ian Charter MacLaurin, Baron MacLaurin of Knebworth DL, is a British businessman who has been Chairman of Vodafone and Chairman and Chief Executive of Tesco. He is a former Chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board and a former Chancellor of the University of Hertfordshire.Ian MacLaurin was...

 who wanted to appoint a successor to lead international expansion and increased market share. Tesco has stretched its lead as the UK's largest retailer since then and has grown significantly internationally, while Leahy continues to visit a Tesco store somewhere every week, normally on a Friday.

Following Tesco's announcement of £2 billion in profits
Profit (accounting)
In accounting, profit can be considered to be the difference between the purchase price and the costs of bringing to market whatever it is that is accounted as an enterprise in terms of the component costs of delivered goods and/or services and any operating or other expenses.-Definition:There are...

 in April 2005, Leahy hit back against protests that the company was "too successful".

On 8 June 2010, Tesco announced that Leahy was to retire as chief executive in March 2011..


Leahy was chosen as Britain's "Business Leader of the Year" in 2003 and the Fortune European Businessman of the Year
Fortune European Businessman of the Year
Fortune magazine gives an annual award for the person it considers to be the European Businessman of the Year. Fortune is based in the United States, but it has a European edition which features this award prominently. Currently the award is announced in January for the preceding calendar year...

 for 2004. In 2005 he was selected as Britain's most admired business leader by Management Today, and a Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

 Unlimited Politics panel found him to be the most influential non-elected person in Britain in 2007.
In 2006, Leahy came 3rd place in the annual Rear of the Year
Rear of the Year
Rear of the Year is a light-hearted British award for celebrities who are considered to have a notable posterior. It was created by publicity consultant Anthony Edwards and is organised by Rear of the Year Limited.-History:...


Leahy was granted the freedom of the city
Freedom of the City
Freedom of the City is an honour bestowed by some municipalities in Australia, Canada, Ireland, France, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom, Gibraltar and Rhodesia to esteemed members of its community and to organisations to be honoured, often for service to the community;...

 of Liverpool and knighted in 2002. He was Chancellor of UMIST, his alma mater
Alma mater
Alma mater , pronounced ), was used in ancient Rome as a title for various mother goddesses, especially Ceres or Cybele, and in Christianity for the Virgin Mary.-General term:...

, from 2002 until 1 October 2004, when he became a co-chancellor of the newly formed University of Manchester
University of Manchester
The University of Manchester is a public research university located in Manchester, United Kingdom. It is a "red brick" university and a member of the Russell Group of research-intensive British universities and the N8 Group...

. He has been honoured with a Doctor of Science
Doctor of Science
Doctor of Science , usually abbreviated Sc.D., D.Sc., S.D. or Dr.Sc., is an academic research degree awarded in a number of countries throughout the world. In some countries Doctor of Science is the name used for the standard doctorate in the sciences, elsewhere the Sc.D...

 from Cranfield University on 7 June 2007.

Everton Football Club

Leahy is an Everton Football Club
Everton F.C.
Everton Football Club are an English professional association football club from the city of Liverpool. The club competes in the Premier League, the highest level of English football...

 supporter and is a special advisor to the club. He is also part of a proposed ground move to Kirkby
Kirkby is a town in the Metropolitan Borough of Knowsley in the metropolitan county of Merseyside in England. The town was developed from the 1950s through 1970s as a means to house the overspill of Liverpool. It is situated roughly north of Huyton, the administrative HQ of the borough and about...

 which would have a new ground
Everton Kirkby Project
The Kirkby Project was a proposed new football stadium in Kirkby, England for . The plan originated in 2006, was the subject of a Public Inquiry in December 2008, but was eventually rejected by central government in November 2009...

with a Tesco supermarket, a hotel, a range of high street shops and extensive car parking.
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