Australian supermarket firm Coles Myer has announced that Steven Cain, managing director of the company's food, liquor and fuel would be leaving in the new year.

Coles Myer's CEO John Fletcher said that Hani Zayadi, currently managing director of the company's Kmart department store unit, will take over the role.

The company did not give a reason for the departure of Cain, who had been in the job for 14 months, although there was speculation that he had irked senior executives and suppliers, reported Dow Jones International News.

Many analysts appeared surprised at the sudden departure and there were concerns it might impact the business' performance.

"It's a concern that he's leaving after only 14 months ...and what it signals for the outlook for the food and liquor business," Craig Woolford, a retail analyst at Commsec Research in Sydney, was quoted by Dow Jones as saying.