Roger Owen, a former Morrisons director, has said the grocer is “heading towards an iceberg” and called for management to step down.

Owen served under Sir Ken Morrison who was the son of the founder. Owen was property director for 22 years until 2009.

He attacked Morrisons’ management and said that chairman Sir Ian Gibson should resign and chief executive Dalton Philips is “out of his depth”.

Owen insisted he was not speaking on behalf of Sir Ken Morrison.

He described the existing management as having “butterfly minds” and he said Morrisons’ strategy lacks focus.

“They go from flower to flower and get nowhere,” Owen told the Yorkshire Post.

Of Gibson he said: “He should not be putting himself forward for re-election. If he does put himself forward, I hope sincerely that he is going to be voted off the board.”

He added that Gibson needs to “act or be prepared for some rough water for the City”.

His comments come after last month Morrisons recorded a £176m pre-tax loss for the year and a 2.8% drop in like-for-like sales.

Owen claimed that workers were being demoralised by cut backs, that in-store initiatives such as misty vegetables were not working, and that Morrisons’ expansion into online and convenience stores is being poorly executed.

Morrisons responded to Owen’s comments, calling them “unhelpful and unwelcome”.

A spokesman said: “Judging modern retailing through the lens of the past is never very enlightening.

“These are unhelpful and unwelcome comments reflecting a different era in retailing.

“He might be better served taking more of a thoughtful view of his role as a director of a board that left Morrisons, uniquely among the big grocers, with no online and no convenience offer.”

Philips is set to update the City on the supermarket’s strategy on Wednesday. Morrisons is also set to roll out its online service to London next month.