Retail veteran Ian McLeod has emerged as the frontrunner for the vacant chief executive job at Asda.
It comes after former boss Roger Burnley unexpectedly stepped down this month.
The Sunday Times reports that Asda had “talks” with McLeod, who currently heads up Asian retailer Dairy Farm International.
He worked for the Big 4 grocer in the 1990s, when he helped steer it away from bankruptcy and towards a £6.7 billion sale to Walmart.
McLeod then ran Celtic FC and Halfords, before taking charge of Australian supermarket chain Coles.
Morrisons chief executive David Potts, Tesco UK head Jason Tarry and Booker’s Andrew Yaxley are said to have been approached but are not in the running.
Marks and Spencer chief operating officer Stuart Machin, another ex-Coles executive, was not mentioned despite being linked to the Asda job earlier this year.
A source indicated the supermarket hoped to make the appointment by the end of the year.
Burnley, who had run Asda since 2018, announced his departure after the retailer was bought by the Issa brothers and private equity firm TDR Capital.
He claimed to be “fully committed” to staying in the post until 2022 when a successor had been found.
A statement put out by the Issas and TDR said Burnley’s resignation had been “mutually agreed”.