Waitrose commercial director Richard Hodgson has defected to Morrisons to become the supermarket’s new group commercial director.

Hodgson will replace current group trading director Martyn Jones, who is stepping down from front-line trading to take up the new post of group services director.

In his new position Jones will focus on government affairs, corporate responsibility, public relations and food safety. He takes up the new role in September, when he will step down from the Morrisons board.

Morrisons said the new role confirmed its commitment “to playing its full part in the national agenda on food and food related matters”.

Hodgson joined Waitrose in 2006 as director of buying, stepping up to commercial director in January 2008 and adding marketing, international development and merchandising to his responsibilities.

Prior to that he spent 10 years at Asda, most recently as brand and marketing director.

“I’m delighted to welcome Richard to the Morrisons team,” said Morrisons chief executive Dalton Philips. “He brings wide experience from all areas of the UK grocery market and has made a big impact in all of his senior roles.”

Philips added: “His appointment underlines Morrisons’ ability to attract the very best talent in retail.”

Waitrose has replaced Hodgson with supply chain director Mark Williamson. He joined Waitrose in 2004 as head of buying before becoming supply chain director in 2007. He has previously worked for Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

“Richard has done a great job for Waitrose but I respect his wish to return to Yorkshire,” said Waitrose managing director Mark Price. News on Williamson’s replacement is not expected for several weeks.

Waitrose is also moving responsibility for marketing away from commercial and has promoted Rupert Thomas to the board as marking director.

Thomas has led a number of high-profile initiatives, including the development of Essential Waitrose and Duchy Originals from Waitrose, as well as the successful campaign starring Delia Smith and Heston Blumenthal (pictured).

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