Woolworths Ltd has tapped the CEO of Tesco's Malaysian unit to lead its Australian supermarkets and petrol stations division.

Tjeerd Jegen will succeed Greg Foran who announced his resignation in July in order "to pursue new career opportunities".

Jegen will take up his position by the end of this calendar year. He joined Tesco in 2009 from Metro Group, where he was CEO of the German retail giant's hypermarket network in Romania.

The 40-year-old moved to Metro in 2007 from Ahold, where he started his career as a management trainee. During his time at Ahold, he also held senior management roles in Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Jegen said Woolworths was a "fantastic company with an enviable reputation globally as a leader in logistical efficiency, a great fresh foods heritage as well as a very strong internal culture of success".

He added: "There is a solid strategy in place to continue to grow this business and I look forward to working closely with my future team to help realise more of its untapped potential."

Woolworths deputy CEO Grant O'Brien, who is set to become chief executive next month when Michael Luscombe retires after five years in the role, said Jegen is a "highly regarded and extremely experienced grocery retailer".

O'Brien said: "His breadth of experience, particularly in managing both small and large format stores as well as developing innovative private label growth strategies will help our supermarkets business meet the changing needs of our customers."