UK retail giant Tesco has confirmed the departure of its group strategy director Michael Fleming.

A spokesperson for the retailer said Fleming has taken a sabbatical and therefore stepped down from the role. Tesco has appointed Sergei Spiridonov from the consultancy McKinsey as a replacement.

The spokesperson said the appointment was a permanent one and that Fleming would not be returning into the role, but declined to comment beyond that.

Tesco has been struggling to turn around its performance following a fall in half-year profits last month and is embarking on a series of initiatives to revitalise its domestic business.

The move follows a suggestion by Tesco last month that it is on the lookout for a successor to its European head Gordon Fryett amid reports he is to retire. Fryett, who was appointed into the role last December, is reported to be retiring in around a year's time, according to The Financial Times.

Last month, the company also confirmed that Terry Price, commercial director of its non-food business, will step down from the company after 18 months in the role.