Asda chief operating officer Judith McKenna is to move to parent Walmart’s international business where she will be executive vice-president, strategy and international development.

McKenna will not be directly replaced. Instead, Asda chief executive Andy Clarke has decided that existing Asda executives will assume her responsibilities.

At the end of this month retail operations director Mark Ibbotson will be promoted to Asda’s executive team as retail director. He is credited for developing the We Operate For Less programme and has “spearheaded the growth in grocery home shopping”, Clarke said in an email to staff. “He is a great innovator and I look forward to having his input around the board table.”

Karen Hubbard, at present responsible for retail development and in-store proposition, will additionally take on multichannel strategy and Asda Direct. Clarke said: “This strategic realignment of how we plan and utilise both our existing and our new space will become increasingly important as multichannel becomes the growth engine of the future.

“It makes logical sense for Asda Direct and multichannel strategy therefore to sit with retail development and in-store proposition. Karen has a track record of creating innovative retail formats and in my view there is no-one better placed than her to lead that charge.”

Chief marketing officer Steve Smith will also assume control of Asda’s financial services business and “take it to the next level”. Clarke said: “It is already a successful private brand in its own right with a fantastic customer offer, and a source of great insights for the business. I believe it will benefit further by being fully integrated within corporate marketing.”

Clarke said of McKenna: “Judith has given me a huge amount of support over the last two-and-a-half years. It goes without saying she will be sorely missed by us all but our loss is most certainly Walmart’s gain.”

“This is great news for Judith but also another example of Asda exporting talented leaders to play key roles across the world for Walmart. We are a global centre of excellence and Judith joins a growing list of Asda colleagues who have chosen to develop their careers internationally.

At Walmart International McKenna will be in charge of areas including strategy, real estate and mergers and acquisitions.