Costcutter’s appointment of a new CEO has prompted speculation the symbol group could delay its long-awaited decision to extend its distribution agreement with Nisa - or go in another direction.

Costcutter is due to make an announcement at its annual exhibition in two weeks’ time. However, this week it appointed former Clinton Cards and Starbucks UK & Ireland boss Darcy Willson-Rymer as its new CEO, replacing long-standing CEO Nick Ivel.

Willson-Rymer starts in the new role on Monday, just a week before the exhibition on 17 September.

“I imagine it will give them breathing space on their future strategy as they will tell you and others that the new guy needs to get in and decide,” said one senior industry source.

“It gets them off the hook of an announcement on supply strategy by making one about a new CEO.”

Speculation is rife over Costcutter’s plans. It said earlier this year that it had a number of options to consider, one of which was to remain with Nisa.

But Costcutter’s owner Bibby Line Group is also understood to have held talks with Morrisons over a possible acquisition.

The wait has prompted two high-profile members to leave Costcutter in recent weeks - J&J Wilson and RedOrange.

Ivel has worked at Costcutter for 14 years. He became MD in April 2006 and CEO in November last year when Bibby took over full control of the company.

It was “the right time for a change of leadership and a change of direction for me,” he said.