Allard Sjollema, Makro Cash & Carry UK's influential commercial director, is leaving the business.

Sjollema, who has been at Makro UK for four years and was right-hand man to MD Hannes Floto, is leaving on 16 July to take up a role with Tesco's operations in China.

His departure will be a blow for Makro, which is working at reducing pre-tax losses of £26.7m through an ongoing business turnaround programme. He has been influential in increasing Makro's catering and fresh food sales and attracting new customers through initiatives such as Love the Pub and Everyday Takeaway. He was also a key figure in the creation of PalMak, the buying alliance forged with Palmer & Harvey earlier this year.

"Allard has helped us move towards our goal of being the first choice cash & carry in the UK and thanks in no small part to his contribution, Makro is seeing dynamic growth in catering customers and has a market-leading fresh food offer," said Floto. "While it is sad to see him leave the Metro Group, I fully understand his desire to explore new opportunities having achieved everything he set out to do during his four years in the UK."

Suppliers were informed of Sjollema's impending departure via a letter this week. It revealed that Floto would be senior point of contact for food and non-food buying matters until Sjollema's replacement was found. "I know how much [Allard] has enjoyed the past four years and how disappointed he is to be leaving part-way through our challenging yet successful business turnaround," Floto added in the letter.

Sjollema joined Makro in 2006 as food buying director. He was promoted to commercial director in June last year to give him additional responsibility for non-food. Prior to Makro UK he was food buying director at Makro Czech Republic and business process optimisation manager at Metro France. He has also worked for Metro Group in the Netherlands, Spain, Argentina, Colombia and Slovakia.