Iceland’s joint managing director Nick Canning has quit the grocer after almost 15 years with the business.

Canning, who joined the frozen food specialist in January 2003, has resigned to “seek a fresh challenge”, chief executive Malcolm Walker told staff in an internal memo.

Walker said in the note, which was circulated to staff last week and has been seen by Retail Week: “I am writing to let you know that Nick Canning resigned over the weekend, and has already left the business.

“We both felt that it was the right time for him to move on and seek a fresh challenge, while he is still young and energetic enough to do so.

“I believe that he now intends to take a long break while he decides what to do next.

“Nick remains a good friend and he leaves with our very best wishes for success in whatever direction his future career may take him.”

Retail Week understands Canning will not be directly replaced.

His exit comes following a management shake-up at Iceland at the start of its current financial year, which saw finance boss Tarsem Dhaliwal become group managing director and international director Ewan McMahon step into the role of operations director.

Canning initially joined Iceland as executive director for people and customers – a role that included responsibility for marketing and ecommerce.

In July 2014, Canning became joint managing director and he has also served as chairman of Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation since March 2012.

Prior to his time at Iceland, Canning served as marketing director for KP Foods and News International.