When Richard Brasher was hired as CEO of Pick n Pay as the first outsider to run the Raymond Ackerman-founded company some five years ago, he would have walked into the struggling grocer's Cape Town offices with nothing besides his briefcase - if he was so inclined on the day. Behind him there was no entourage, no travelling suits from London where he had made his name running British grocer Tesco. Faced with the job - which is still incomplete - of turning around the fortunes of the retailer, one would have understood if he had brought in a few friendly faces he had worked with over the years. People whose eyes and ears he trusted, especially if you considered the cultural changes he'd had to make at a company that was steeped in family tradition. It was only after a year that he recruited one of his trusted lieutenants in David North to join him in what is still one of the hardest jobs in the sector, winning back long-lost market share from Woolworths, Shoprite and Spar. Another e...

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