Tesco has hired former Royal & Sun Alliance director Julie Hopes as commercial director, general insurance, as it continues to ramp up its Tesco Personal Finance division.

Hopes, who joins Tesco later this year, will report to chief executive Benny Higgins and be based at Tesco Personal Finance’s  Edinburgh head office. She has been at Royal & Sun Alliance since 1990, most recently as international operations and IT director, and is an associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers.

The move is further evidence that Tesco is concentrating on ramping up its non-food businesses. Tesco bought out Royal Bank of Scotland’s stake in Tesco Personal Finance, which was a joint venture, last year and is considering a more serious move into banking by tapping the wholesale credit markets. It is looking into making the finance division a standalone bank, and trying to secure a separate credit rating, which could see it launch into mortgages. 

A Tesco Personal Finance spokeswoman said Hopes will “bring a wealth of insurance expertise to the business”.