Morrisons has poached two senior executives from Asda and Tesco to spearhead a product development drive to transform own label.

It has appointed head of Asda brand product Simon Mitchell and Tesco's Central European product development manager Eleanor Scott to the roles of joint heads of product development. The roles are the first senior appointments in chief executive Marc Bolland's strategy to make Morrisons "the food specialist for everyone" by improving own label.

Mitchell, who started off at M&S before joining Asda in 1999, has been key to the redevelopment of Asda's Extra Special own label range. His principal remit in his previous post was to drive private label strategy, product innovation, quality and safety in food and non-food.

Scott, who previously worked within restaurants then owned by PepsiCo such as KFC and Pizza Hut, has spent the past 10 years at Tesco. She headed product development across four markets in central Europe and built its Finest, Value and Healthy Living brands.

The roles are food-focused, but duties will not be split until the pair join the business early next year.

Until now, Morrisons has only had individuals working on product development, rather than the large dedicated teams employed by its rivals. However, Mitchell and Scott are likely to build up a small department to concentrate on the transformation of Morrisons' own label business.