Morrisons group retail director Mark Gunter is to retire in June 2012.

Gunter, who had been with Morrisons for over 25 years, will remain as group retail director until the AGM in June 2011, when he will step down from the main board.

With immediate effect, he will start to hand over his responsibilities to Mark Harrison. Harrison is group retail director (designate) in this period.

Guner will continue to advise the Morrisons board until he leaves. Harrison will then join the main board.

Sir Ian Gibson, chairman of Morrisons, said: “Mark has made an enormous contribution to Morrisons over twenty five years, with the last eleven years at board level.  He has been one of the architects of our growth from a strong regional operator to a national business.  Mark is a great retailer and a valued leader and on behalf of colleagues throughout the business I would like to pay tribute to his achievements and loyal service over many years and wish him well in his retirement.” 

Dalton Philips, chief executive, said: “Mark Gunter has been a tremendous asset to Morrisons for many years always leading as a retailer.  He will retire with the best wishes and gratitude of the whole company.  I am pleased that Morrisons has developed many excellent retailers and that Mark Harrison has the skills and experience to step up to the key role of group retail director.”   

Philips has shaken up the management team since joining the retailer last year, bringing in experience from all across the globe.   

Gunter said: “I have had a fantastic career at Morrisons working with some great people. I am proud of what the company has achieved and have a tremendous sense of satisfaction with our success. The business is in good shape with a strong management team in place and I feel now is the right time to step back, and consider fresh challenges, and possibly take on some non-executive positions.  For now I am looking forward to supporting Dalton and the board in preparation for when I step down from the board in June 2011 and leave Morrisons in June 2012.”