Alan Stewart, the CFO of UK retailer Marks & Spencer, has stepped down to take up the role of finance chief with Tesco.

Stewart will leave M&S on a date and on terms to be agreed, the retailer said today (10 July). A search for his successor is currently underway.

Stewart started his career in investment banking with HSBC and then became CFO at Thomas Cook Holdings in 1998. He was appointed UK CEO in 2001. From there he moved to WH Smith as group CFO, and in 2008 was appointed CFO at aircraft leasing business AWAS, before moving to M&S in 2010.

He will take over from Laurie McIlwee who announced his decision to resign from the post in April.

Tesco CEO Philip Clarke, said: "When we set out on this search we wanted a candidate who had the right blend of experience, leadership and values to play a leading role in the transformation of Tesco. We have found all three in Alan. I am looking forward to working alongside him and I know Tesco will benefit from the breadth and depth of his experience."

M&S this week reported its twelfth consecutive quarterly decline in general merchandise sales, which includes clothing.