It’s all change at the top: last month Morrisons announced Rami Baitiéh as its new CEO. Now comes the even bigger news that Matthew Barnes has been appointed Tesco’s UK CEO.

The changing of the guard follows the announcement that Jason Tarry will step down as UK & Ireland CEO next March after a hugely distinguished 33-year career at the UK’s biggest grocer. And what a contribution Tarry has made.

Having established his reputation building the F&F clothing business, Tarry’s appointment as chief product officer was critical for Tesco’s turnaround following the accounting scandal, with his strong values, focused data analysis, calm demeanour and all-round decency helping reset Tesco’s moral compass, rebuild supplier relations and settle nerves among the visibly shaken ranks of buyers that reported into him. As a series of non-Tesco execs came in, like Tony Hoggett, he also provided much-needed continuity and kept the organisation moving forward as well as always having a sense of fun and positivity.

His subsequent work as CEO has also enabled Tesco to compete more effectively against the discounters, and Tesco has developed a more supportive, diverse culture under his leadership, which would have been unthinkable 10 years ago.

So Tarry’s departure is a big loss for Tesco. But given Tesco’s momentum, his incredible legacy will be its ongoing success. A legacy Barnes is sure to build on. And it will be fascinating to see how the ex-Aldi boss, having espoused the merits of the discounter’s limited assortment, low operating cost business model for so many years, responds to the considerably more complex machine that is Tesco.

But Barnes is one of the finest retailers this country has ever produced, offers vast experience of Aldi’s inner workings, is highly personable and has an innate appreciation of how to develop company culture. And having been courted by pretty much all the British grocers (and several suppliers) after quitting Aldi at the start of the year, his decision to pick Tesco shows not only his respect for the grocer but his confidence in being able to add value. That makes him a formidable replacement for the outgoing Tarry.

In fact the bigger question is what Tarry does next. Still only in his mid-50s, and a new dad to boot, he has lots of life left in him. And it’s surely unthinkable that there isn’t another big job left in the tank. But where will he go? What will he do? Keep reading The Grocer to find out!