The husband and wife founders of Dunnhumby, the data and marketing company fundamental to the success of Tesco’s Clubcard, are to step down.

Edwina Dunn and Clive Humby will give up running Dunnhumby on a day-to-day basis at the start of March next year, The Times reported.

After setting up in business from home, the pair won Tesco as a client in 1994. The customer analysis they provided led to the piloting of Clubcard, which became so successful that it was rolled out nationwide the following year.

Tesco bought a 53% stake in Dunnhumby in 2001 and increased its holding to 84% in 2006, As well as Tesco, Dunnhumby works for businesses such as Cadbury and Vodafone.

Dunn said: “Clive and I are immensely proud of what we achieved together and the platform we have created for Dunnhumby’s future success.

“When we started Dunnhumby, most companies saw data on their customers as a drain on IT systems – today it is seen as one of the biggest assets companies have.”

The pair will remain at Dunnhumby as non-executives. Simon Hay has been promoted to chief executive.