MORRISONS chief executive Dalton Philips has underlined his determination to grow the supermarket chain by appointing four new senior managers.
Mr Philips, who replaced Marks & Spencer-bound Marc Bolland in March, said the appointments will drive his plan to make the Bradford-based group "different and better than ever".
The UK's fourth-biggest supermarket chain behind Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury's, faces a tough 2011 from resurgent rivals, increasing costs and downbeat consumers. While its growth has outstripped competitors for much of the past two years, it has slipped back recently.
In October, Mr Philips outlined plans to expand into convenience and online retailing, plus boost its own-brands products.
The appointments follow former Asda and Waitrose director Richard Hodgson arriving as group commercial director in June.
Mr Philips, who joined from Canadian grocer Loblaw, said the hirings "represent a big step forward in the strength of our operational and strategic capabilities and the pace at which we can execute".
He added they reflect the group's ability to attract "the brightest and best talent".
Belinda Youngs joins as own-brand director from grocery chain Sobeys in Canada, where she was chief marketing officer. She will be responsible for all Morrisons' private brand work, "developing the Morrisons' own label as a leading brand".
Ms Youngs, who will report to Mr Hodgson, is said to have extensive label development experience and has held senior trading and buying posts with Sainsbury's.
Nick Collard joins as commercial director of ambient and frozen from Boots, where he was brands director. Mr Collard, who also reports to Mr Hodgson, has worked at L'Oreal, Mars and Sainsbury's.
Gordon Mowat, a former Procter & Gamble director, joins as strategy director from consultants McKinsey and Co.
Richard Lancaster is promoted to marketing director, replacing the departing Angus Maciver.
Mr Maciver, a former director at Prudential and Pepsico, said "it felt like the right time" to leave.
"I would love to take on being a chief executive at a smaller business," he said. "There's a couple of opportunities. I have had a fantastic three-and-a-half years and think we have done some really good things. With the reorganisation happening and Richard Hodgson joining, it felt like the right time for me to look outside."