Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC (LON:MRW) has divvied up the senior roles in its boardroom in succession planning for the top role, with a new chief operating officer and chief financial officer appointed.

Trevor Strain, currently group chief finance and commercial officer, will become COO on the first day of the 2020/21 financial year, 3 February.

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Taking over as CFO will be trading director Michael Gleeson, who two years ago was promoted from group financial controller and supermarkets finance director.

Chief executive David Potts, who joined from Tesco in 2015, said the changes were “a result of strong management development plans” and added “I look forward to continuing to work closely with both of them”. 

Strain, who also joined from Tesco, will take on a broader remit of operational responsibilities, including commercial, manufacturing, supply chain, logistics, operations development, online and wholesale.

Gleeson, who followed the well-worn path from Tesco’s Welwyn Garden City headquarters to Morrison’s Bradford in 2014, will report to Strain as group finance director until the financial year end, when in his new role he will report to Potts.

Morrisons shares were down 2% to 191.2p on Wednesday afternoon.

House broker Shore Capital said it was an “important, and we believe positive evolution” of the board, viewing Strain as “a high-quality business executive…fundamentally key to the stabilisation and onward progression of Morrisons in recent years” and noting that Gleeson had at Tesco worked with Morrisons’ current chairman, CEO and now COO.