Woolworths now has a management team 'made in heaven' after poaching Tesco's former international chief operating officer Simon Turner, according to chief executive Trevor Bish-Jones.

Turner will become retail and distribution operations director and work alongside former Asda non-food trading director Tony Page, who joined the Woolworths Group as commercial and marketing MD in May 2006.

"Thanks to their supermarket background, Simon and Tony are very consumer-focused," said Bish-Jones. "They understand how to manage the commercial function and how to get cost efficiencies. The development of retail operations in supermarkets is ahead of every other retail format and we will reap the benefit of their experience."

Woolworths has also announced that Lloyd Wigglesworth is to leave his position as MD of EUK, the chain's entertainment wholesale business, which supplies retailers such as Tesco and Morrisons with CDs, DVDs and video games.

In his three years in the job, Wigglesworth led EUK through an expansion programme that included buying the Total Home Entertainment and Bertram businesses. He will be succeeded by Steve Lewis, previously MD of retail and distribution at Woolworths.

However, shareholders, including the Baugur-led Unity consortium that controls a 10% stake, have been pushing Woolworths to sell off the media arm and restructure the 820-store retail business.

Bish-Jones has said publicly that he is not opposed to such a drastic step, but the retail business needed to get back on track first, which would take at least 12 months of consistent and sustainable profit growth.

Last month Woolworth's shares plunged 20% to just 8p after the retailer said it was operating in "volatile and highly competitive markets".