Tesco has boosted the profile of IT and its online business on its “formidable” new executive committee.

Incoming chief executive Philip Clarke has added seven new members to the committee, including Mike McNamara, who is promoted from operations development & IT director to chief information officer, with responsibility for group IT strategy and operations.

Ken Towle, who was recently appointed internet retailing director, also joins the committee.

The additions come amid mounting speculation that Tesco is preparing for a major extension of its online business, as Clarke prepares to take the reins from Sir Terry Leahy in March.

Also joining the revamped committee are group property director Gordon Fryett; UK chief operating officer Bob Robbins; commercial director for UK clothing, electronics and general merchandise Laura Wade-Gery; group personnel director Alison Horner; and Trevor Masters, who is responsible for operations in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Turkey.

They join Clarke, Tim Mason, Richard Brasher, Andrew Higginson, Laurie McIlwee, Lucy Neville-Rolfe and David Potts on the senior team.

Tesco’s executive committee will have 15 members when the supermarket appoints a new group commercial director. Tesco said the hire would be announced “shortly”.

"Given that the size and scope of the business has grown enormously in recent years, it is now the right time to enlarge [the committee],” Clarke said. ”This is a formidable group of people with an enviable range of talents gleaned over many years in Tesco and other organisations, both in the UK and overseas.”

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