A top executive at Morrisons is in talks to leave, days after it emerged that the Bradford-based grocer had been displaced as Britain’s fourth-biggest supermarket chain.
Sky News has learnt that Trevor Strain, Morrisons’ chief operating officer and previously its finance chief, is close to finalising his departure.
Mr Strain, who has frequently been touted as a potential successor to the group’s chief executive, David Potts, has not yet formally resigned but is expected to do so shortly.
He is said to have been approached about executive roles at several listed and privately owned companies in recent months.
A former Tesco executive, Mr Strain has worked for Morrisons since 2009, and was promoted to his current role in October 2019.
The timing of his prospective resignation underlines the continuing upheaval at Morrisons, which delisted from the London Stock Exchange last autumn after being acquired by the private equity firm Clayton Dubilier & Rice in a deal worth about £7bn.
The takeover ended its 54-year run as a publicly traded company.
Last week, industry data showed that Morrisons had been usurped by Aldi, the German-owned discounter, as the UK’s fourth-biggest grocer – a milestone in a sector which rarely demonstrates change in the membership of its top ranks.
Morrisons struck a deal earlier this year to rescue the convenience chain McColl’s, the market share of which is not included in the data published last week.
An insider said that Morrisons was investing significant sums in the McColl’s business and that the inclusion of the latter’s operations would likely mean Morrisons retaining fourth place in the industry league table.
The supermarket chain is now chaired by Sir Terry Leahy, the veteran former Tesco chief executive.
A Morrisons spokesman declined to comment.