Terry Leahy - Europe's Most Admired Leader

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Case Details:

Case Code : LDEN036
Case Length : 20 Pages
Period : 1995-2005
Pub Date : 2005
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Tesco
Retail ing
Countries : UK

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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"Mr. Leahy stands out from other great CEOs in Europe because he has taken a business that was stalling and made it consistently outperform the entire sector. He's done that while never being a celebrity. He's always kept his feet on the ground."1

- George Cox, Former CEO and Chairman,
Unisys Corporation (UK).

"The first thing you notice is that Terry has a completely different character to anyone else you know. That tells you that people who are successful don't have the same makeup as everybody else. In Terry's case, his approach is low key. He is sharp and very focused: he is very close to his people and he doesn't spread himself too thin. Above all else he's a very good leader."2

- Allen Leighton, Chairman of the Royal Mail Group.

Getting Awards and Recognition

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) Europe and CNBC Europe chose Terry Leahy (Leahy), Group Chief Executive of Tesco, the largest retailing company in the UK, for the "European Business Leader of the Year 2005" award. Appreciating Leahy's leadership, the WSJ wrote, "Terry Leahy was chosen as the best corporate leader in Europe in large part because of his quiet stature in retail.

He's the epitome of the long-term sector leader who is garnering the most respect and credibility. Tesco's success in 2004 particularly impressed Leahy's peers because of a demanding UK retail sector."3 Leahy was also chosen as "European Businessman of the Year" by Fortune Magazine for the year 2003.

According to Fortune, "His stewardship of Tesco, through an economic boom and bust and in a hypercompetitive business, makes him Fortune's choice as Europe's Businessman of the Year for 2003."4

In the same year, Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC)5 presented Leahy with the 'CSC Business Leader of the Year award.' Appreciating Leahy's leadership, Guy Harris, President of CSC, commented, "Sir Terry Leahy is without doubt an outstanding business leader and demonstrates this consistently through his determination and drive to grow the Tesco business to make it the UK's biggest and most profitable retailer. His forward thinking approach of giving customers access to the latest in retail innovation, through its very successful Internet shopping and banking businesses for example, has enabled him to build a business that is at the forefront of the global retailing industry and a great British success story."6 

Terry Leahy - Europe's Most Admired Leader - Next Page>>

1]  Spikes, Sarah, "Flashy Showmen Need Not Apply for Europe's Top CEO Spots," The Wall Street Journal Online, March 21, 2005.

2]  Blackhurst, Chris, "Sir Terry Leahy," Management Today, February 2004.

3]  Spikes, Sarah, "Flashy Showmen Need Not Apply for Europe's Top CEO Spots," The Wall Street Journal Online, March 21, 2005.

4]  "Fortune Names Tesco Chief Executive Terry Leahy Europe Businessman of the Year," www.fortune.com, January 26, 2004.

5]  CSC was incorporated in 1959 and was a leading global IT services company providing front end consulting, planning, system integration and outsourcing services. The company generated revenues of US$ 14.77 billion in fiscal 2004.

6]  "Sir Terry Leahy Crowned CSC Business Leader of the Year," CSC Press Releases, November 12, 2003.


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