Atkinson will be tasked with developing new products such as the soon to launch current account and the in development digital ClubCard.
In a statement, chief executive Philip Clarke says: “Going forward he will develop our approach to innovation; identify and build new strategic partnerships and work with the businesses as a custodian of our brand to bring it to life for customers, colleagues and communities in our biggest projects.”
Atkinson’s responsibility for group marketing strategy will now fall under the remit of the director of the supermarket’s developing businesses Jill Easterbrook in the newly created role of chief customer officer.
Easterbrook – who has held several senior roles since joining Tesco in 2001 including director of its clothing business, corporate affairs director and group strategy director – will take on the newly created role of chief customer officer.
She will oversee group and UK marketing activity as well as the broad task of ensuring the supermarket’s offer “is completely relevant for them” and that its goal of becoming “loved by more of our customers more of the time” is achieved.
It is not known what impact the appointment will have on UK marketing director David Woods or whether the CMO role is being scrapped.
The reshuffle comes in the week Tesco is expected to announce a further weakening in its sales performance. Some analysts are predicting the company will announce same store sales could have fallen by up to 4 per cent in its latest quarter when it updates the City tomorrow (3 June).
Like for like sales had fallen 3 per cent in the previous quarter. The supermarket is losing customers to discounters Aldi and Lidl. It has announced millions in price cuts and is investing in multi-channel to try and turnaround its performance.