Palmer & Harvey (P&H) has appointed Tony Reed as chief executive with immediate effect.

The former Tesco executive spent 38 years working for the grocery multiple in a number of operational roles across different store formats, including heading up One Stop and Tesco’s convenience store unit.

The wholesaler has also appointed as non-executive director Alistair Darby, former chief executive of Mitchells & Butler, a FTSE 250 operator of restaurants and pubs.

These appointments are aimed at add strengthening P&H’s board and senior management team in preparation for its next phase of development.

As part of strengthening the board, Chris Etherington, currently chairman and chief executive, will become executive deputy chairman, while Richard Grainger has been appointed as non-executive chairman, following three years as a non-executive director. Grainger is currently chairman of McKay Securities, a publicly quoted commercial property investment company and Harrington Brooks, the debt management company.

Chris Etherington, executive deputy chairman, said: “We are delighted to welcome Tony as our chief executive. His deep experience of the retail sector will be extremely valuable to Palmer & Harvey, as will his track record of driving growth, operational efficiency and his passion for developing people.

“Tony is ideally placed to drive our long-term strategy, further strengthen our customer proposition and embed our reputation for first class service.”

Tony Reed commented: “I am looking forward to working with the strong team at Palmer & Harvey to drive the opportunities for growth, operational efficiency and service excellence that its unique scale, heritage, reputation for delivery and customer relationships present. Having worked closely with Palmer & Harvey over the last four years I have always found it a reactive and responsive business to work with.”