Tesco has replaced Bob Robbins as UK chief operating officer.

The news comes just weeks after Robbins hit the headlines for controversially selling shares in the supermarket before its recent profits warning.

Robbins has been handed a new strategic role reporting directly to Philip Clarke, as Tesco bids to restore momentum to its domestic business.

He will be succeeded as COO by Tesco veteran Chris Bush, who returns to the UK from a stint heading up the Thai business. Slovakia chief John Christie will step in for Bush in Thailand.

“As we move closer to the new financial year, I have reflected on the changing needs of the business and I have asked Bob Robbins to change his executive committee accountabilities,” Clarke told staff in an internal memo.

UK chief executive Richard Brasher said: “Last month we set out our determination to invest in the UK business. These changes give the UK board the combined strength of a very experienced leader of change and a talented country CEO who has done an extraordinary job in Thailand.”

Robbins found his name in the headlines after selling off shares worth £200,000 just eight days before Tesco unveiled a sharp fall in like-for-like sales over the key Christmas period. He became COO of the UK business in March 2011, having previously held roles including head of the Central  & Eastern European business.