Tesco has unveiled the former boss of the Food Standards Agency, Tim Smith, as its new group technical director.

Smith, who is fresh from co-ordinating the FSA’s huge operation surrounding London 2012, will now move to head up operating standards at the retailer. Tesco said his early priorities would include work on quality and freshness and further strengthening its supply base across the group.

“He’ll bring deep knowledge and breadth of experience, which will help us realise our wider ambitions for the business in this area,” said Tesco group commercial and supply chain director Kevin Grace.

Smith joined the FSA in 2008. He has also worked for Arla Foods and Sara Lee. Smith has been credited with introducing a more consensus-driven style at the FSA following repeated clashes with the industry.

“After a long career as both a branded and own-label food manufacturer, much of which involved supplying Tesco, it was a challenge to switch priorities to lead the UK’s regulator of the food industry,” he said.

“However, the principle of doing the right thing for consumers was exactly the same. Now I’m delighted to be able to apply those same values to what is, in my opinion, the world’s leading retailer. I have long admired the qualities of the Tesco people and their business and look forward to doing what I can to help in the next phase of Tesco’s development.”

Tesco is also looking for a regional technical director for Central Europe.