Tesco CEO Dave Lewis has told suppliers he plans to bring out the “personality and passion” in Tesco, after sending his team into extra time at this year’s annual trade briefing.

Lewis broke with tradition from previous years for the event, held at Wembley last week, by providing the keynote address and holding an extended networking session with his entire UK management team and suppliers.

“For the first time, Tesco had its CEO there to present,” said one supplier. “It was a real step change from what has gone before.”

Lewis told suppliers he was determined to bring about a simplification of the business, and stressed his moves to get more feet on the floor in store were beginning to get results even in its largest stores, which had been seen as one of its biggest problems.

He also called for longer-term relationships with suppliers and said he wanted his legacy to be Tesco’s impact on the wider community.

“I have been to this event year after year and this was by far and away the most impressive performance,” said one sales director.