Tesco’s new chief financial officer Alan Stewart has been parachuted in more than a month ahead of schedule in the wake of yesterday’s shock announcement of a £250m overstatement of profits.

Stewart, formerly at rival M&S, fills the void left by Laurie McIlwee, who left Tesco earlier this month.

Tesco has launched an investigation headed by Deloitte after admitting a whistle-blower had discovered its profits had been artificially inflated for the first half of this year.

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Four senior Tesco executives, including its UK managing director Chris Bush, food commercial director John Scouler, head of food sourcing Matt Simister and UK finance director Carl Rogberg being suspended.

There was more bad news for Tesco today as Kantar World panel figures showed sales down 4.5% for the 12 weeks to 14 September leaving its market share at 28.8%.

Stewart’s earlier than expected arrival echoes that of new CEO Lewis, who agreed to join Tesco a month earlier than expected, at the start of September, because of the extent of the crisis facing the retailer. 

Its interim results have been put back until 23 October following this week’s developments, with Robin Terrell, Tesco’s head of online operations, taking over in temporary charge of the UK operations.