Tesco boss Philip Clarke is to be replaced by a senior executive at Unilever after failing to prevent a slide in profits.
Clarke, who was preparing to celebrate his 40th anniversary at the supermarket chain, will be succeeded by Dave Lewis on October 1.
Announcing Clarke’s departure, the company said current trading conditions are “more challenging” than it anticipated at the time of its first quarter interim management statement on June 4.
“The overall market is weaker and, combined with the increasing investments we are making to improve the customer offer and to build long term loyalty, this means that sales and trading profit in the first half of the year are somewhat below expectations,” Tesco added in a statement.
Chairman Richard Broadbent said Clarke has agreed with the board that it is “the appropriate moment” to hand over to a new leader “with fresh perspectives and a new profile”.
Lewis, who is head of Unilever’s personal care of business, will receive a basic salary of £1.25m and standard benefits commensurate with his new position.