The IT director of supermarket giant Tesco is to take over as its group CEO next year.

Tesco’s director of international operations and IT, Philip Clarke, will take up the post when the current CEO, Sir Terry Leahy, leaves Tesco in March 2011 after 14 years at the head of the company.

During Clarke’s time as group IT director, Tesco has invested in numerous tech projects including adopting a new CRM system for call centre staff, virtualising servers to improve efficiency in its datacentres and using telematics technology to reduce the fuel consumption of its delivery vans.

tesco it director

Tesco IT director Philip Clarke (above) will take over as group CEO from Sir Terry Leahy in March 2011
(Photo credit: Tesco)

Clarke started working for Tesco more than three decades ago, joining the supermarket as a part-time assistant while he was still at school in Liverpool.

He has worked in a range of roles at the grocer and was given responsibility for the group supply chain when he joined the Tesco board 12 years ago, taking over the role of looking after group IT a year later.

In January 2004 he was made responsible for international operations in addition to his IT responsibilities. Outside of his tech role he has overseen the opening of new stores and operational improvements across Asia and Europe.

Clarke has also been a non-executive director of Whitbread since November 2005.