Morrisons has announced that Dalton Philips, chief executive, will leave the company earlier than expected.

It was revealed last month that Philips would leave the company, but would work until a replacement had been found. 

However, the supermarket today said that from Monday (16 February), Philips would step down and Trevor Strain, current finance director, would chair the management board and assume executive responsibilities.

Philips’ departure was announced after the retailer decided it needed a “fresh pair of eyes” to run the business. It said today that the search for a new chief executive was “progressing well”.

Andrew Higginson, Morrisons chairman, said: “We’re making good progress with the search for a new CEO. With Trevor Strain chairing the management board, together with the retailing strength and depth that I’ve seen in my short time at Morrisons, I’m confident that it will be business as usual during this transitional period.”

The struggling food giant also said that Andrew Higginson would spend more time in the business until the new chief executive was in place.