Tesco has appointed the chief executive of its Japan operations as its new group strategy director.

Michael Fleming, who was the grocer’s Japan boss for three years, started back in the UK at the beginning of May according to The Independent, and is the latest in a line of high-ranking Tesco personnel to have been called back to the UK from Tesco’s international businesses.

Chief executive of its central and eastern European business Bob Robbins and the boss of its Hungarian operations Per Bank both returned to join the new UK board in January. Ken Towle, former chief executive of its China business, came back to take the group director of internet retailing role in March.

Tesco has struggled in Japan since launching the C Two-Network chain in 2003. Group chief executive Phil Clarke recently said the grocer would not open any further stores in the country “unless it sees a way to win”.

For its year to February 26 Tesco reported underlying global pre-tax profit up 12.3% to £3.8bn with group sales up 8.1% to £67.6bn. Clarke said all Tesco’s Asian markets made progress on profitability except Japan and China.