Outspoken Netto managing director Claus Wædeled has left the discounter but has been ordered to keep quiet about the move.

However, Wædeled hinted that his time in UK grocery was far from up. He told The Grocer: "I have an agreement with the company and as part of that I can't say a lot, except that I am still in England and don't have another job. You'll probably see me turn up in another position soon."

A spokesman for Netto said the retailer was currently looking for a new MD.

Wædeled joined Netto UK from Danish supermarket chain Føtex in September 2003, having worked there for more than 20 years.

He soon made it his mission to challenge what he saw as an unfair comparison in the UK between the hard discounters' and the multiples' value brands. Any comparison, he said, should be with the multiples' quality own label lines, not their value brands.

He slammed the Competition Commission's view that the discounters should only be allowed to buy stores from their multiple rivals in special cases, and earlier this year claimed that undeveloped land held by the multiples prevented competitors from opening new stores.

He said Netto wanted to open as many as 30 stores a year in the UK but was held back because land was unavailable.

Parent company Dansk took a cautious view of the UK market when Netto entered in 1990 but gave Wædeled increased financial support, which led to him proclaiming that there was capacity in the UK for 1,000 Netto stores.

The Danish chain operates 145 Netto stores in the UK and took control of another 19 Kwik Save-branded locations from Somerfield this year.

It hopes to open seven more stores and has been working to build on its quality image by, for example, bringing in new wines.