After five years as network development director for Tesco, Scott Wharton has split ranks and joined MBL as its new supply chain director.

He steps into the shoes of Mark Aylwin, who left the MBL team in September to become chief executive at online delivered wholesaler Blueheath.

In his new role, Wharton will work to drive efficiencies and improve service to independent retailers, as well as increasing the company's picking accuracy and availability levels.

He will also continue the work started by Aylwin to transform the MBL supply chain by next year.

A key part of his strategy will be to boost the offer available at the company's four UK depots, which are predominantly ambient.

He will be reporting directly to acting managing director Martin Hyson.

"The efficiency of our supply chain is a fundamental driver for our business. It is key in enabling us to achieve our strategy of being the progressive partner to the independent retailer in the UK," Hyson said.

"I am delighted we have been able to recruit someone of Scott's calibre to help us deliver the right supply chain for the future of our business."

Wharton added he also planned to "develop a fully integrated supply chain for Budgens and Londis retailers that will be the best convenience supply chain in the UK from a cost, availability and service perspective."

Prior to his five-year stint at Tesco, Wharton held a number of positions at the home improvement retail business Kingfisher Group. Before that he worked at Whitbread, which he joined as a graduate trainee.

Wharton is the second big mover to MBL in as many weeks, following Mike O'Brien's appointment as IT director last week, moving from the Dixons Store Group.