Darren Blackhurst, Asda’s trading director for food, has been promoted to group trading director following the shock departure of his non-food equivalent Peter Pritchard.

Pritchard’s responsibilities have been handed to Blackhurst after CEO Andy Bond decided one person should be responsible for the overall trading proposition. “Darren is a natural trader,” said Bond. “Under him food has continued to outperform the business plan, and the wider market, and has been a material factor in our recovery as a business.”

Pritchard is to pursue a career elsewhere after working for Asda for 12 years.