Tesco’s UK fresh food commercial director Andrew Yaxley is leaving his post to prepare to take on a new general management role in the new year.

Yaxley, who has been at Tesco since 2001, has been one of the key figures in the £1bn store revamp ordered by CEO Philip Clarke after the retailer issued its first profit warning in 20 years in January.

His duties will be taken on by John Scouler, UK commercial director for grocery, household goods, beers, wines, spirits, tobacco and petrol.

Tesco stressed the move was a promotion for Yaxley, but would not say if he had been considered a potential contender for the position of UK commercial director.

Tesco hired headhunters earlier in the year to find a commercial director to sit on its UK board.

Yaxley, who was involved in the launch of Tesco’s new Everyday Value range, recently suggested customers had become almost embarrassed to buy the old Value range before it was revamped.

“Customers told us that they questioned the quality of the Value brand because of the packaging, and some didn’t feel comfortable putting it in their trolleys,” he said.

A Tesco spokesman said: “At Tesco we place great emphasis on developing our colleagues to ensure we have the best possible pipeline of general management talent for the future.

“Andrew’s development programme is just one example of this and it happens at every level of the business.”