Marie Melnyk, Morrisons managing director, announced her resignation from the company yesterday (6 December) citing medical reasons as the cause of her departure.

Melnyk is the third high-ranking executive to leave the UK supermarket this year.

Marie Melnyk said:  "I have been privileged to have been with the company and to work within the British food industry for the last 30 years. This is the right decision for me and is at an appropriate time, given the company's improving position under the capable leadership of our new chief executive."

According to reports in the UK press, Melnyk left the company with a payoff of GBP1.4m (US$2.75m), the equivalent of two years' salary, benefits and bonus.

Commenting on her departure, chief executive Marc Bolland, said:  "In the short time I have worked with Marie, I have been impressed by both her skills and experience and I am particularly grateful for the time she has spent in supporting my own induction into the business. She leaves with my best wishes for the future."

Bolland will temporarily take on Melnyk's board responsibilities, and the company said an update on succession would be issued in due course.