Tesco veteran Stan Burns has retired after 29 years’ service.

Burns, currently category director for meat, fish, poultry and eggs, retired this week. He will be replaced by Derek Lawlor, category director for grocery.

Burns had given “outstanding service” to the company, a Tesco spokeswoman said. He would continue to work with the food division on a consultancy basis, coaching and mentoring staff members, she added.

One industry source claimed Burns’ departure was “a big loss” for Tesco given his high-profile position and length of service.

He is still scheduled to speak at Tesco’s trade briefing, which will be held in London, in May.