According to reports, Woolworths has appointed a headhunter to find a successor to outgoing chief-exec Trevor Bish-Jones and is eyeing three possible candidates from Tesco.
Trevor Masters, who is responsible for Tesco's Extra stores, Graham Harris, the supermarket's commercial director, and distribution director Laurie McIlwee have been linked with the Woolies job.
Zygos will this week talk to each of Woolworths' non-executive directors before beginning the search. Several are already understood to be pushing for external talent to help revitalise the chain.
However, Woolworths trading director Tony Page and Steve Lewis, managing director of its distribution unit EUK, are possible internal candidates.