Morrisons has announced further changes to its executive committee following last month's appointment of Trevor Strain as chief operating officer and Michael Gleeson as chief financial officer.
The moves are seen as part of a careful succession plan, preparing the Bradford-based group for the time when chief executive David Potts steps down to make way for Mr Strain.
Andy Atkinson has been appointed group commercial director, reporting to Mr Strain. Mr Atkinson joined Morrisons over eight years ago, initially in a commercial role, and has been group customer and marketing director for almost five years.
Prior to Morrisons, he had over a decade of commercial and marketing experience both in retail and FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) and will be responsible for the company’s trading and manufacturing business.
David Lepley has been promoted to group retail director, reporting to Mr Potts. Mr Lepley joined Morrisons from Asda almost four years ago and has held senior retail operations and supply chain roles.
After nearly five years helping drive the turnaround, Gary Mills, current group retail director, is leaving Morrisons to pursue other interests.
Mr Potts said: “Our executive committee listen to and lead our team of foodmakers and shopkeepers as they continue to improve the shopping trip for customers.
"Today’s changes, together with Trevor and Michael’s appointments, are part of our plans to continue the momentum of the turnaround and bring new generations of talent through the Morrisons ranks.
“I would like to thank Gary for his important contribution to the Morrisons turnaround over the last five years, especially the improvement in store standards and execution, and wish David and Andy every success in their new roles."
Analyst Clive Black at Shore Capital said: "Morrison has announced that is further evolving its senior executive committee, the people who run the business day to day and report into the group board, with a view to the next phase of the company’s development.
"We welcome this announcement as we believe that it brings additional resource, focus and energy to a business that has executed a text book stabilisation and recovery, in a capital disciplined, nay light manner, and is now facing into the challenges and opportunities of the next phases of its development.
"We have noted with interest and encouragement the appointments by Mr Potts of a strong cohort of young talent into Morrisons, people that are seeing through a major reengineering of the business."