LONDON (Reuters) - British supermarket group Morrisons <MRW.L> on Wednesday promoted finance chief Trevor Strain to the role of chief operating officer, putting him in pole position to eventually take over from chief executive David Potts.
The promotion is Strain's second in 13 months. Having joined Morrisons, Britain's No. 4 grocer, in 2009, he was appointed chief financial officer in 2013 and assumed the additional responsibilities of group commercial director in October 2018.
Potts, CEO since 2015, and Strain have delivered a major turnaround in Morrisons' fortunes after it was badly damaged in its northern England heartlands by the rise of German-owned discounters Aldi and Lidl and the mistakes of previous management.
Morrisons trails market leader Tesco <TSCO.L>, Sainsbury's <SBRY.L> and Asda <WMT.N>.
In his new role as COO, Strain will continue to report into Potts. Strain's responsibilities will include commercial, manufacturing, supply chain, logistics, operations development, online and wholesale.
Strain will be succeeded as finance chief by Michael Gleeson, currently Morrisons' trading director responsible for ambient grocery, frozen, dairy, fuel and services.
"These two appointments are a result of strong management development plans at Morrisons," said Potts.
Shares in Morrisons closed Tuesday at 195.6 pence, valuing the business at 4.7 billion pounds.
(Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton)