Martin Ackroyd to be replaced as Next chairman drafted in as deputy chairman
Morrisons has reshuffled its board after pressure from the City and investors following the company's surprise profit warning last week.

Finance director Martin Ackroyd - blamed by many for the recent alert - has stepped down and will be replaced after the annual general meeting in May. Bob Stott, formerly joint managing director, has been promoted to chief executive, while Marie Melnyk will continue as managing director, with responsibility for trading and marketing.

Next chairman David Jones has been appointed Morrisons non-executive deputy chairman and senior non-executive director. He will help Jones and Stott oversee 'succession plans' for the board and the appointment of additional non-executive directors, which it is hoped will stem the internal disagreements that have shaken City confidence in the retailer. Non-executive director Duncan Davidson is also to step down.

'The appointment of Bob Stott and Marie Melnyk to their new roles and the appointment of David Jones as deputy chairman are significant steps in the development of Morrisons,' chairman Sir Ken Morrison said in a statement. 'I would also like to thank Martin for the significant contribution that he has made to the company over the past 31 years. His hard work, loyalty and commitment have been outstanding and I respect his decision to seek a less public life.'

Morrisons released its annual results for the year to January 30, with group turnover of£12.1 billion. Sales at Morrisons' core 130 stores were£5.9 billion, an increase of 11.5 per cent from last year. Like-for-like sales rose 7.1 per cent or 4.6 per cent excluding petrol. Sales at Safeway stores were£6.4 billion, a fall of 6.8 per cent or 8.9 excluding petrol.

'The task of converting Safeway has been challenging, but I believe we have made good progress towards our objective of becoming one of the four major national food retailers,' said Sir Ken. 'We remain confident of achieving a significant improvement in performance in 2006/2007.'