Tesco said the diagnosis was found following an operation to remove his tonsils in April of this year, and that Wilson had been undergoing daily radiotherapy during May and June. He is said to be responding well to treatment but will step down from his CEO role and from the board but will remain on the Tesco executive committee.
In a statement Tesco said Wilson will focus on leading the Booker business, which Tesco acquired for £3.7bn earlier this year, continuing to deliver cost synergies and driving the growth agenda set out in the merger agreement.
As a member of the executive committee he will also contribute to the broader Tesco UK Strategy and will report to Dave Lewis.
Jason Tarry, currently group chief product officer, will become CEO of the UK & ROI business and Andrew Yaxley, currently CEO Ireland, will be promoted to group chief product officer and join the Tesco executive committee. All changes to responsibilities will be effective from 16 July.
In a personal statement Wilson said: “In April I was shocked to learn I had throat cancer. Thanks to some fantastic medical support I am pleased the treatment is going well and I am back to working full time. However, advice suggests I am not fully up to running the Tesco UK & ROI business.
“During this process Dave and the board and Tesco leadership team have been very supportive. I am very pleased to continue running Booker and help deliver the benefits of the merger for consumers, Booker customers, colleagues, suppliers and shareholders.”
He added: “I am delighted Jason Tarry will become the CEO of Tesco UK and ROI. I have had the privilege of working alongside Jason and know he will do a brilliant job. A big thanks to Dave, all the team in Tesco UK & ROI, Booker and the Booker customers for your support and I really look forward to working with you in the years ahead.”