Fresh & Easy chief operating officer Jeff Adams has changed roles and is now leading Tesco’s Turkish business.

Adams has joined Tesco Kipa and former Kipa chief executive Paul Ritchie will become chief executive of Tesco China according to an internal memo reported by US blog FreshNEasyBuzz.

Adams had been seen as a strong candidate to succeed Tim Mason, Tesco’s chief marketing officer and deputy chief executive. There has been speculation that Mason might move back to the UK to help turn around Tesco’s domestic operations.

Turkey is a key market for Tesco and Adams will aim to spearhead further growth and be based in Izmir.

He will be succeeded at Fresh & Easy by former China chief executive Tim Ashdown, who has spent 31 years at Tesco.

Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke said in the memo that Ashdown’s “extensive operations experience will help deliver our shopping trip as we move towards profitability in the US, which is an important priority for us”.

The reshuffle comes six months after chief marketing officer Simon Uwins left Tesco’s US chain.

Tesco last month pushed back its target for Fresh & Easy to break even to some time in the next financial year.