Tesco may consider investor relations heavyweight Rebecca Shelley to replace corporate affairs director Lucy Neville-Rolfe.

The Financial Times reports that Shelley, a partner in PR firm Brunswick, has emerged as the frontrunner to replace Neville-Rolfe when she retires next January.

Shelley spent seven years in investor relations and corporate affairs with life assurer Prudential before joining Brunswick in 2007.

Earlier this week, Tesco appointed Brunswick to handle its PR after 12 years with agency Maitland.

Shelley handled investor relations at Prudential following the departure of chief executive Jonathan Bloomer in 2005 and as it fended off a hostile bid from rival Aviva.

Neville-Rolfe’s replacement will be responsible for government and public relations, corporate social responsibility and internal communications.

Her position is on the main board but her replacement is not expected to sit on the main board or have responsibility for legal affairs.

Tesco and Shelley declined to comment.