Dudley Ramsden, joint founder and executive chairman of Nisa-Today's, is to retire this month.
Ramsden, who formed the company with Peter Garvin nearly 30 years ago, will retire at the company's annual general meeting on 28 November.
The news comes in the wake of Nisa-Today's failed merger with Costcutter.Ramsden said it had been his intention to retire on completion of the proposed merger, but he now wants to spend more time with his young family and to help his two elder sons in the family businesses, Dee Bee Cash & Carry and Ramsden's Superstore.
His retirement follows calls from within the organisation for a board restructure. Ramsden faced re-election at the agm.
A source close to the board had said a sub-committee of non-executives had been formed to review his role.
In a statement, the board said: "Dudley's passion and energy has transformed the prospects, not just for Nisa-Today's members, but for the independent sector as a whole. Dudley has led Nisa-Today's to become one of Europe's leading buying groups, with its stand alone central distribution division having just reached a turnover of £1bn."
It has been proposed Ramsden should be appointed to an ambassadorial role as non-executive president.
Although the appointment requires confirmation from shareholders at the agm, Ramsden said he would "very much look forward to helping the new team, providing a blend of continuity and new vision ".
Meanwhile, Edwin Booth, chairman of Booths, has been appointed acting non-executive chairman.
Raj Chatha, chief executive of Whittalls Wines, becomes acting non-executive deputy chairman. Neil Turton, chief operating officer, has been appointed acting chief executive.?