Tesco is expected to post a profit fall when its results are out in mid-April

Tesco is expected to post a profit fall when its results are out in mid-April

Tesco CFO Laurie McIlwee has decided to leave the UK retailer, it was announced this afternoon (4 April).

McIlwee, who joined Tesco in 2000 and became its finance chief in 2009, said he felt "now is the right time for me to pursue other opportunities".

There had been speculation in recent months McIlwee could leave amid alleged tensions with CEO Philip Clarke.

The Financial Times yesterday (4 April) reported McIlwee was set to resign as early as next week. The FT said there had been "clashes" with Clarke over parts of the company's strategy. It also said there had been "investor disquiet" and questions over whether Tesco was in full control of its finances.

Tesco refused to be drawn on the report when contacted by just-food earlier today - but within hours an announcement was made to the London Stock Exchange.

"I am proud of what we have achieved at Tesco over the last few years," McIlwee said. "I wish Philip and the team well and I am absolutely confident that Tesco will emerge from the current period of unprecedented change in the industry stronger than ever."

Sir Richard Broadbent, Tesco's chairman, said: "Together with Philip and the wider team, Laurie has played an important role in our process to transform Tesco and position it to be a winner in the new era of retailing. I and the board wish him every success for the future."

Tesco is set to announce its annual results on 16 April. The UK's largest grocer has struggled in recent years as more consumers look to discounters like Aldi and Lidl and shy away from larger stores.

Responding to these trends, Tesco launched a turnaround plan for the UK, where it generates the lion's share of group profits, in 2012. Tesco increased its focus on fresh food, revamped its own-label lines, started investing in refreshing its store base while also investing in price.

In February, Tesco announced plans to "accelerate" its bid to turn around its UK business after sales failed to improve.

The group plans to improve its proposition by increasing investment in "sharper prices, improved quality, stronger ranges and better service".

The retailer also intends to ramp up its efforts to expand in the growth areas of UK grocery retailing - multichannel and convenience.

The latest market share data from Kantar Worldpanel, covering the 12 weeks to 2 April, showed Tesco's market share was 28.7%, down from 29.6% a year earlier.