Norman Kears, managing director of Budgens Franchise which trades under the Budgens Local fascia, has been recruited by Somerfield.

Kears, 63, has left to take up a two-year contract with the multiple in Yorkshire.

Budgens said this would enable him to spend more time with his family.

Budgens chief executive Martin Hyson said Kears would be working in Somerfield’s franchise department.

A spokesman for Somerfield said Kears would be reporting to Keith Jackson, new business development director. His potential responsibilities will include finalising franchise packages for Somerfield, finalising potential new business and looking at opportunities to extend the brand into more high street locations.

He leaves the Budgens Franchise operation in good shape, with the supermarket chain claiming it is on target to achieve its five-year plan of 150 independent retailers.

Budgens said the recruitment process for Kears’ replacement was in its final stages and should be completed in September.

Kears has been managing director of Budgens Franchise for the last three and a half years. Before that he was deputy managing director of Costcutter.

Budgens chief executive Martin Hyson said: “We are grateful for Norman’s contribution and wish him well for the future.”