Tesco is on the lookout for a new chief executive for central Europe after revealing Gordon Fryett is to retire in just over a year.

Fryett took up the job in December from his previous role as head of Tesco’s property strategy, succeeding Trevor Masters who became chief executive of Asia.

Tesco is looking at both internal and external candidates for the position, which sits below the group board, the Financial Times reported.

The position has increased in importance since Tesco revealed this month that the eurozone crisis was beginning to hit sales. European sales fell 6.8% in the first half to £5.3bn.

A Tesco spokesman said: “Early succession planning is part of good business management. Whenever we recruit for senior leadership roles, it is good practice to benchmark internal talent against the external market.”

The move comes a day after Retail Week revealed fresh and frozen food commercial director Andrew Yaxley has been promoted to a general management role within the UK. Sources close to the retailer said Yaxley could be being prepared to become a country chief executive.

Packaged foods commercial director John Scouler will take up a new role which combines heading up fresh and packaged foods on December 1.

  • Tesco has today begun digitally distributing Clubcard vouchers for the first time. The grocer has signed a deal with digital gift voucher specialist Eagle Eye which will allow shoppers to redeem the digitally-delivered rewards at Pizza Express. Using this new system, Clubcard members can now receive rewards from Pizza Express via email within two hours and redeem them at participating restaurants. Every online request that Tesco receives for a Pizza Express reward is authenticated by Eagle Eye’s system. A unique voucher code is then automatically generated and a personalised email containing the reward is sent to the customer, so that it can be redeemed immediately. Assigning a unique code to every reward ensures that it can only be redeemed once.