Landmark Wholesale’s influential senior retail controller Raj Krishan has jumped ship to take up the newly created role of retail development director at the Today’s Group.

His appointment comes less than a month after the Today’s Group relaunched its convenience offer with new fascias for c- stores and larger store formats.

Krishan’s arrival would be “the missing piece in the jigsaw” for the group as it continued to develop its retail offer, said Today’s Group MD Bill Laird.

“Throughout 2009 we’ve been putting together a retail strategy and it’s all falling into place now,” he told The Grocer. “We’re delighted to have found someone with such in-depth knowledge of the independent sector. We’ve got the fascia, we’ve now got the retailer to run it, and soon we’ll be appointing a marketer to promote it.”

Krishan said he was looking forward to the challenge. “This position gives me a rare opportunity to really influence the future direction of the business and provide Today’s Group members with a key competitive advantage.”

Krishan’s departure will come as a blow to Landmark Wholesale. He has been instrumental in establishing the buying group’s retail development programme Lifestyle Express. With plans for a relaunch in the spring, it is set to pass the 2,300 store mark by April.

He will be replaced by Stuart Johnson, who is promoted to retail controller. He moves up from the role of retail operations manager, which he has held for the past two years.

“As retail operations manager, Stuart was the nuts and bolts of the programme,” said Landmark Wholesale MD Martin Williams. “With his vast knowledge of the independent retail sector, he was the ideal candidate to take the group’s retail strategy forward in what will be a very important phase for us. In 2010 we will have a major change of direction for Lifestyle Express. It therefore makes sense to have this clean cut off with Raj and move the project to a fresh pair of hands to deliver our ambitious vision,” he added.