Asda has promoted two members of its top executive team as it prepares for the impending departure of its chief customer officer Steve Smith.

At the same time, the retailer has also unveiled a streamlining of its vice presidents.

As part of the changes, chief merchandising officer for food Barry Williams has been promoted to chief customer officer, replacing Smith. In his new role Williams will lead all marketing, customer insight, store proposition and health.

Williams is replaced as chief merchandising officer by Andrew Moore. Moore, who joined Asda in 2008 as director of George, has had food trading added to his current responsibilities for George and general merchandise. Asda said he would be responsible for all of its commercial business across food, George and GM in a move that “significantly simplifies commercial decision making, creates true cross-functional working and supports succession planning”.

Smith, meanwhile, is finalising his next role in Walmart following the completion of his secondment in the UK. He joined Asda in 2012 following assignments with Walmart China.

In a note to staff, chief executive Andy Clarke said “Steve has made a fantastic contribution to Asda where he has professionalised the marketing team and leaves it in great shape. Steve is considering two options at Walmart and when he decides, he will leave with my personal thanks and our full support.”

On Williams, he added: “Barry has had a huge impact on the trading floor with his straightforward, customer-centric approach.”

Asda has also streamlined its vice presidents, “creating bigger remits across fewer roles so that one person is responsible for decision making in the area that they are accountable for”.

As part of this process, Nick Jones has been appointed MD of George and Fiona Lambert has been appointed vice president of product development design. New retail roles include a new vice president for retail south (Helen Milford) and a new vice president for retail north (Kevin McBride).

In the memo to staff, Clarke also said he was continuing to discuss its retail and people teams and expected to share the final decision by the end of next week. He also revealed Fiona Briault, Amanda Cox, Martin Dawson, and Chris McDonough had left the business.

“A retail business runs in cycles and as we start the year – one which promises to be the toughest year yet for our sector – I want stability at the top of the organisation through fewer, bigger leadership roles which will speed up decision making in this highly competitive market,” Clarke added.

“These changes will enable Asda to prosper in an increasingly competitive market by enabling faster decisions through streamlined structures where colleagues are empowered under the leadership of fewer, bigger leadership roles.”