John Allan is now the hot favourite for the Tesco chairmanship as former Kingfisher boss Sir Ian Cheshire exits the race for the role.

Tesco had reportedly narrowed down the search for a successor to Sir Richard Broadbent to two candidates, Allan and Cheshire, but the field has been left wide open for former Dixons chairman Allan as Cheshire decided not to proceed, according to The Financial Times.

The development comes after Cheshire told Retail Week he favoured another chief executive role.

He said stepping down from Kingfisher at this point has given him a “four to five year period where I can do something full-on”.

He added: “At this point, similar to other retiring chief execs, we all start from the assumption we want to do another chief executive role and that is probably where my head is at the moment.

“My interest is in probably doing something full time, but it is actually more about doing something I get excited about with people I want to work with.”

Although Allan, who is at present chairman of housebuilder Barratt and co-deputy chairman of Dixons Carphone, is now favourite for the role, The Financial claims it is possible another candidate could be appointed to the role.

Tesco is seeking a new chairman after incumbent Broadbent revealed he would step down following an accounting scandal that involved Tesco overstating its profits by £263m.