Trevor Strain, former UK property finance director at Tesco and Morrisons employee since 2009, will take on Dalton Philips’ job functions at the Bradford-based chain as the search for a successor goes on. Strain was formerly CFO at Morrisons.

Philips, whose departure from the company was moved up to Monday (16th Feb) from an original suggested date of the end of March, was Morrisons CEO for almost exactly five years, overseeing a seismic change in the UK grocery industry.

Following an announcement that Morrisons’ sales had fallen 3.1% in the six weeks to 4 January 2015 and that, subsequently, Philips would be departing, chairman Andrew Higginson suggested that Strain was the most likely internal candidate to replace Philips, but that the supermarket would prefer an external candidate and that it was too soon for Strain to step up.

“With Trevor Strain chairing the management board, together with the retailing strength and depth that I’ve seen in my short time at Morrisons, I’m confident that it will be business as usual during this transitional period,” said Higginson.