Asda operations director Stuart Machin is to quit the chain in the summer to move to Australian supermarket group Coles as retail director.

Machin leaves after two and half years with Asda, where he was responsible for operations at 175 stores in the south of England. At Coles he will be joining forces with two other former senior Asda executives, Ian McLeod and Archie Norman.

McLeod held senior operations and merchandising roles at Asda during the 1980s and 1990s and was appointed managing director at Coles earlier this year, while Norman is a former Asda chief executive and chairman. The pair have been advising Coles since its £9.13bn takeover by Wesfarmers last year.

Machin's departure will come as a blow to Asda's UK operations team. It is still looking for a replacement for its chief operating officer Dave Cheesewright, who left in January this year to become president and chief executive officer of Wal-Mart Canada.