Dido Harding, the head of Sainsbury's convenience business, is leaving the UK retailer to take up the position of chief executive of telecommunications firm TalkTalk.

Harding was appointed Sainsbury's convenience director in October 2007, prior to which she held senior roles with Tesco, both in their UK and international businesses.

"Dido will not be leaving Sainsbury's until spring 2010 and we will be confirming who will take on responsibility for convenience in the New Year," a spokesperson for Sainsbury told just-food today (17 December).

Harding has been the force behind Sainsbury's massive push in the convenience sector in the last twelve months. The retailer opened 19 smaller format sore in the first half and has since announced plans for 50 new stores in this financial year and a further 100 in 2010/11.

Sainsbury's previously said its push into convenience will help it look to meet its three-year target of increasing its selling space in the UK by 10%.