Potts exits after leading Morrisons through its acquisition by American private equity fund Clayton, Dubilier & Rice in a bid led by ex-Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy. That £7 billion, funded mostly by debt, followed an intense bidding war.
He will be replaced by Rami Baitieh, who led French supermarket giant Carrefour, in November.
In his exit, Potts admitted - as had been widely reported - that there had been discussions about his exit for some time.
He said: “Terry and I have had several conversations about succession since the buyout in 2021. We had a clear understanding that I was prepared to devote several more years to Morrisons if that was required but that if an outstanding successor was identified who could lead Morrisons for the long term then I would step down.”
Leahy said: “Rami will bring energy, innovation and dedication to expanding Morrisons’ loyalty programmes and digital reach, while ensuring that the company’s long legacy of quality, and mission to deliver value for shoppers, is preserved.”
Morrisons has slipped down the supermarket league table of late, with shoppers turning to discount retailers like Aldi and Lidl instead. It fell to fifth in market share earlier this year, behind Aldi, with an 8.6% share.
Last year, the supermarket reported a pre-tax loss of £1.5 billion, including £400 million in interest costs.
Victoria Scholar, Head of Investment at Interactive Investor, said: “Morrisons is somewhat squeezed in the middle with intense competition from Tesco’s sheer size as well as the rock bottom prices on offer from the German discounters.
“The challenging economic backdrop with elevated inflation and higher interest rates has squeezed consumer budgets and impacted shoppers’ behaviour by making them increasingly price sensitive and on the hunt for bargains.”
Before joining Morrisons, Potts had spent almost 40 years at Tesco.