Tesco big-hitter Andrew Higginson is to retire next year.

He will exit the business on 1 September 2012 and said he was looking forward to "the next phase of [his] career".

As head of retailing services, Higginson oversees Tesco's online business and is also chairman of Tesco Bank.

Higginson joined the Tesco board in 1997 and was previously group finance and strategy director.

“I have had a wonderful career with Tesco and am very proud of the part I have played in the company's success,” Higginson said.

“Next year I will be 55 and will have completed 15 years on the board of this great company. We will have completed the creation of the bank as a standalone entity and that seems an appropriate moment to hand over and move on to the next phase of my career.”

Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke added: “I respect Andy's decision to move on and am grateful that he has given me sufficient notice to effect proper succession planning.”

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