Asda international chief marketing officer Rick Bendel is to oversee trading operations after the sudden departure of chief merchandising officer Darren Blackhurst last week.

Bendel, who was promoted last year from Asda chief marketing officer to work across all of Walmart’s global operations outside the US, is understood to have worked closely with Blackhurst and will take over his responsibilities until a permanent replacement is found.

Asda is expected to announce a new chief executive today, with chief operating officer Andy Clarke tipped for the role.

A spokesman for Asda said it is focused on the new chief executive at the moment, then an internal and external search will begin for a new trading director.

Asda’s current chief executive Andy Bond will step into the role of part time chairman when a new chief executive is appointed.