Refoy quits Stansted to aid Asda's growth plans

Stansted Airport's top lobbyist has quit after just seven months to head Asda's property comms team.

Jonathan Refoy is to join the Wal-Mart-owned retailer on 22 January, a move that heralds a quick return to the supermarket sector. Before joining Stansted (PRWeek, 28 April 2006) Refoy worked for Tesco.

Refoy will report to Asda director of property Graham Adams, who is also ex-Tesco.

Asda is particularly striving to find sites to launch store formats such as Asda Essentials (smaller, local stores) and Asda Living (non-food stores that sell George-branded clothing).

Last year it joined rivals J Sainsbury, Morrisons and Marks & Spencer in demanding changes to planning regulations that govern new stores and extensions.

They have submitted evidence to the Competition Commission inquiry into the groceries market, claiming the planning regime aids the growing dominance of Tesco – which has a 34 per cent market share – by making it difficult to open new stores.

At Tesco, Refoy was corporate affairs manager for Scotland and the North, working on planning applications and liaising with stakeholders in relation to store openings.

As well as Adams, other ex-Tesco staff at Asda include head of estates Jo Moon, regional property manager Jane Buddery, and Andy Martin, who was hired at the end of last year as property manager for the West.

Refoy’s exit from the Stansted job comes amid a turbulent time for airports operator BAA’s comms team. BAA lost both its director of corporate and regulatory affairs Ian Hargreaves (PRWeek, 20 Oct 2006) and PA manager Adam Higgitt (PRWeek, 7 Sep 2006) within weeks of each other last autumn.

A BAA Stansted spokesman said it would need to replace Refoy although a decision had not yet been finalised as to how and when.

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