Waitrose has promoted Jackie Wharton to the position of convenience director replacing Diana Hunter, who is leaving the grocer to become chief executive of Bargain Booze.

Wharton, who has been with the grocer for 15 years, was previously director of commercial operations.

The convenience position is a key one for Waitrose which entered the convenience sector at the end of 2008 and opened its first Little Waitrose shop in January 2011.

Wharton held a variety of buying roles at Waitrose before being promoted to commercial operations director in 2008 with responsibility for areas including pricing, promotions and merchandising.  

Prior to joining Waitrose, she spent seven years at Sainsbury’s in a variety of buying roles.

In her new Waitrose role she will be responsible for developing the retailer’s critical convenience strategy and will report into retail director Rob Collins.

The retailer currently has 36 convenience shops and plans to open a further 10 in central London this year, with the next planned for Vauxhall in the spring.

Collins said: “Jackie’s wealth of experience in retail and her success in developing our commercial operation functions makes her the perfect person to take on the exciting role of driving our convenience business forward.”

Hunter joins Bargain Booze as chief executive next week.