Rod Addy
Safeway supply director Lawrence Christensen has added group retail operations to his responsibilities and assumed the newly created title of group operations director.
Safeway said that Christensen's new role would take in some of the areas covered by group trading and marketing director Jack Sinclair and group services director Richard Williams, plus chief executive Carlos Criado-Perez.
The multiple said that Sinclair, Williams and Criado-Perez are all retaining their posts.
The move signalled "the importance of keeping retail firing on all cylinders for the next few months until the takeover process has been completed".
Christensen's appointment has been welcomed by industry analysts. Mark Hughes, director of Numis, said: "Christensen is well regarded. Indeed Ken Morrison and his team are keen he should stay should they succeed in acquiring Safeway.
"Safeway needs this change because sales have started to slip."
Christensen joined Cavenham Foods as distribution controller in 1974. The firm was later acquired by Argyll, Safeway's founding company. He was appointed to the Safeway board as logistics director in 1987 and became supply director in 1999.
As chief executive of Safeway Northern Ireland, he was responsible for retail operations there and will retain this role.