The news that Asda’s COO Judith McKenna is to take up an international role with parent company Wal-Mart may come as a boost to Asda’s UK competition, an analyst has said.

The UK retailer revealed today (11 January) that McKenna has been promoted to executive VP of strategy and international development for Wal-Mart. She will report directly to CEO Doug McMillon. After her move in April she will be tasked with overseeing a number of areas including strategy, real estate, mergers and acquisitions, integration and purchase leverage.

Dave McCarthy, an analyst at Investment Banking & Securities, said the move is a loss to Asda but “good news for the competition” as he regards McKenna as “top drawer”.

“Any weakening of the management team at Asda is good news for the competition. The impact will not be obvious nor immediate, but as we have said before, judge a decision on how the competition view it. We believe that Asda’s competitors will be pleased to see McKenna depart for the US, so bad news for Asda, good news for Morrisons in particular.”

He added that McKenna “is one of a rare breed”.

“[She is] a finance director that understands retailing and is in touch with the consumer. Wal-Mart appear to share this view too, and have plucked her out of the UK for a significant executive role for the group and for an important step in career development for her. Wal-Mart appears to be grooming her for bigger things in the future.”