Sir Terry Leahy, the chief executive of UK retail giant Tesco, is to retire from the business in March.

Leahy, who has spent 14 years at the top of Tesco, said he has decided to step down after making the company the UK’s number one retailer and building its non-food and international businesses.

“When I became CEO I had a plan to build Tesco around its customers, to make it number one in the UK and to find new long-term growth in non-food, in services and in international expansion,” Leahy said.

“It has taken 14 years but that strategy has become a firm reality now and so I feel my work is almost complete.”

Phil Clarke, who has been in charge of Tesco’s businesses in Asia and Europe, will replace Leahy.

“I have worked with Phil at Tesco for many years and I am confident he has all the necessary talent, energy and experience to take the group forward,” Leahy said.

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By GlobalData

Leahy’s departure has sparked a reshuffle of Tesco’s executive team.

Tim Mason, currently boss of Fresh & Easy, the retailer’s US venture, will also become deputy chief executive of the whole group.

Mason will oversee “branding, our values and climate change” for the business, Tesco said.

UK retail and logistics director David Potts will be the first CEO of Tesco’s operations in Asia.

Richard Brasher, Tesco’s commercial director, will take a newly-created role of CEO of the UK business, while taking responsibility for the Irish business.