As The Grocer went to press, shares at the retailer were up 30p following the announcement.
Philips is currently chief operating officer of Loblaw, Canada's largest grocer, a position he's held since 2007. Loblaw has more than 1,000 stores nationwide and turns over £18bn.
Prior to that he was chief executive of Irish department store group Brown Thomas. Between 1998 and 2005 he worked for Walmart's international division holding a range of commercial positions, rising to chief operating officer in Germany.
While Walmart's German venture ultimately failed, David Wild, chief executive of Halfords, who headed Walmart's German operations with Philips as his number two, said Philips had a "proven operational track record in many retail situations" and in Germany had driven "improved store standards and significantly reduced payroll costs and stock loss". Dalton had "huge integrity", he added.
Retail recruitment executive Jon Midmer of MBS described Philips as "internationally minded, fresh thinking, and among the next generation of grocery leaders". A senior Irish retail director added that Philips was "extremely well regarded for the work he did at Brown Thomas".
Matthew Truman, analyst at Nomura, said his "youth and extensive experience should drive a new era at Morrisons". He welcomed his "strong pedigree in retail, sourcing, turnarounds and operational efficiency programmes" and said the appointment was a real coup. "He was widely seen as succeeding the current Loblaw CEO."
Truman highlighted "the internet and improving the integration and systems recently implemented" as key areas of focus. Bernstein Research analyst Christopher Hogbin identified non food, convenience, loyalty, internet and international.
Dalton started his career as a store manager in New Zealand with Jardine Matheson and was later regional director of its Spanish supermarket arm.