Philip Clarke has been named as the next chief executive of Tesco, after Sir Terry Leahy announced his retirement following 14 years at the helm.

Clarke, who currently has responsibility for the group's international operations in Asia and Europe, as well as group IT, will succeed Sir Terry (pictured) next March.

Tim Mason, the current president and CEO of the retailer’s Fresh & Easy US business, will become deputy CEO. He will take on additional responsibility for branding issues and the group’s response to climate change.

“When I became CEO I had a plan to build Tesco around its customers, to make it number one in the UK and to find new long-term growth in non-food, in services and in international expansion,” Sir Terry said.

“I wanted to develop a purpose and values that could sustain Tesco through its challenges and encourage and grow future leaders.

“It has taken 14 years but that strategy has become a firm reality now and so I feel my work is almost complete.”

Tesco chairman David Reid hailed Sir Terry as “one of the leading businessmen of his generation”.

“Terry has made an unrivalled contribution over a prolonged period,” Reid said. “He has put in place a strategy that can secure the progress of Tesco for years to come.”

In a series of related moves also effective from March 2011, UK retail and logistics director David Potts will step up to become the first CEO of Tesco’s business in Asia.

Commercial director Richard Brasher will take on the newly-created role of UK CEO, with additional responsibility for the Republic of Ireland.

Andrew Higginson will continue as CEO of retail services, Laurie McIlwee remains finance director and Lucy Neville-Rolfe will continue as corporate and legal affairs director.

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Editor's Comment: When Sir Terry goes, contrast the succession planning with Morrisons (30 January 2010)