Atkinson has been group marketing and digital officer, since joining 18 months ago from Havas EHS; he reported to Mason. He will retain his job title but assume Mason’s responsibilities, reporting directly into chief executive Philip Clarke.
He recently oversaw the advertising pitch which resulted in Wieden + Kennedy landing the estimated £110m account, previously held by The Red Brick Road.
Mason, also chief executive of US operation Fresh & Easy and deputy group chief executive of Tesco, had been with the company since 1982.
But it appears he has taken the can for the failure of the Fresh & Easy brand. Tesco said: “It is now clear that Fresh & Easy will not deliver acceptable shareholder returns on an appropriate timeframe in its current form.”
The company said Clarke did not want Mason to lead the strategic review and as a result he is leaving.
Clarke said: “It’s always sad when colleagues leave but it gives opportunities for others. I’m delighted with the team I’ve got and there will be more additions in the future.”
As a result of the review, all options are up for discussion, including selling the chain or finding a partner. There are 199 Fresh & Easy stores, based in Arizona, California and Nevada.
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