Morrisons retail improvement director Richard Manners left the business this week, The Grocer has learned.

Overall responsibility for the retail improvement team and business development teams that reported to him has been taken on by central retail operations director Richard Gray.

Manners’ team had been responsible for looking at ways to make stores run more efficiently, part of the same strategy that led to the retailer’s announcement this week of around 2,600 redundancies in a move to create “a simpler management structure”.

No details were given regarding Manners’ departure, but it is understood both parties agreed to go their separate ways and that it is not related to the job losses.

Manners joined in April 2012 from Dixons Retail where he spent two years as international development director.

Gray has been with Morrisons since 2011. As operations director, he has been responsible for projects to improve stores.

As part of the new store structure, Morrisons will bring together department manager and supervisor positions into a single and smaller tier of team managers. Around 1,000 people will be promoted to new duty manager roles. Hours will also be reinvested in customer-facing jobs on the shop floor.

Morrisons also said it hoped to minimise the number of redundancies by offering “displaced colleagues” opportunities among the 1,000 jobs it plans to create in M Local c-stores and 3,000 it will create in new supermarkets this year.