UK supermarket retailer Safeway has launched a search for someone who could replace the executive chairman or chief executive.

“We are looking for somebody of board member calibre,” a spokesman was quoted by the Daily Telegraph as saying. “Somebody who in due course might be considered as executive chairman or chief executive.”

The news will likely fuel speculation that current CEO Carlos Criado-Perez is to be replaced. Criado-Perez has recently come under pressure over Safeway’s performance.

The company spokesman denied this, however, saying: “Carlos has a very good incentive package which triggers around 2004 and 2005, and he wants it.”

He added that Criado-Perez was only 50 and that “one or two people are coming up for retirement sooner”, reported the Daily Telegraph.