Asda has named Judith McKenna as chief operating officer, succeeding Simon King.

McKenna, at present Asda’s finance director, will take up her new role in September, following a planned extended summer break with her family.

Asda president and chief executive Andy Clarke said “I am delighted that Judith is to become our chief operating officer.

“In the last year alone, her work leading the Netto acquisition and integration programme - which is reinventing our retail future - demonstrates that she’s the natural choice for this role.

“She also represents someone who lives Asda’s culture everyday. Her understanding of our business, her passion for people development, her down-to-earth style and ability to get things done, will all contribute to ensuring she is a great chief operating officer.”

McKenna joined Asda over 15 years ago and became chief financial officer in 2001. As chief operating officer she will lead all Asda’s retail operations, including its stores, distribution network and IT systems.

Evolution analyst Dave McCarthy said: “This is a good move by Asda and will help bring stability to the company in a difficult time for the industry. Judith has a very good reputation in the industry and is well respected across the trade.

“She is very firm, very disciplined and runs a very tight financial ship. She is well experienced in most aspects of retail, inspires loyalty from her staff and has a good reputation for people development. Judith also has an excellent understanding of retail strategy and the issues facing the sector.”