Woolworths has appointed a new chief financial officer to replace Stephen East.

Robert McDonald joins Woolworths from Punch Taverns and will take up his role on November 3.

Chief executive Steve Johnson said: “Robert's appointment is very important for the group, and I am delighted to welcome him to the team. He has great experience in finance, strategy and operational business development and is an experienced FTSE 100 CFO. His experience will be invaluable in driving through the operational changes within Woolworths and in helping the group move to the next stage of its development.”

He added: “I would like to thank Stephen for his significant contribution to the group over the last three and a half years and wish him well for the future."

East will remain at Woolworths to ensure a smooth handover of the role.

Last week two directors left Woolworths as Johnson battles to turn around the struggling retailer. Retail and distribution operations director Simon Turner and group head of human resources Claire Tiney left last week and will not be replaced.