British supermarket group Morrisons, which this month lost its status as the country's fourth largest grocer to discounter Aldi, said on Tuesday chief operating officer Trevor Strain is to leave the business.
The group, owned for almost a year by US private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, said Strain had informed the board of his wish to step down.
He joined Morrisons in 2009, having previously worked for market leader Tesco.
Strain was considered by analysts as the favourite to succeed Morrisons' veteran CEO David Potts but said he wanted a new challenge.
'A New Challenge'
"If I am to take on a new challenge for the next few years then it would be better to make that change at the start of the Morrisons journey in private equity, and not in the middle of it," Strain said.
Potts said he was sad Strain had decided to leave but understood and respected his decision.
Recent industry data has shown Morrisons' sales lagging those of rivals.
In April the group warned its sales and core profit for the year could be hit by the war in Ukraine and rising inflation.
Elsewhere, Britain's competition regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), raised competition concerns related to its merger with McColl’s in 35 local areas where the companies compete.
However, the competition regulator noted that the deal would not harm a vast majority of shoppers or other businesses on an overall basis.