Tesco, one of the industry’s biggest commercial clients, has restructured its development team after a raft of further high-profile departures.

The departures include Richard Rust, the senior development manager, who is jumping ship to become head of construction at Sainsbury’s.

The position of Tesco development director has now been split into three regional heads of development, following the departure of Tony Vashista in March.

Jennifer Weitzel, the acting development director, will cover the South of England, and Ross Campbell, the former development manager, will cover Scotland and Northern England. The South-west and Wales will be covered by a third head of development, who has yet to be recruited. They will report to Kevin Grace, director of property services.

Other key figures departing from Tesco include Richard Saunders, who pioneered the company’s two-floor trading programme; Joe Richardson, who was in charge of mixed-use development; and development manager Matthew Horne.

They’re going to be in trouble. They have an enormous programme to deliver next year

Tesco source

It is understood that up to a quarter of the department’s posts are now vacant. Senior management figures are said to be concerned about Grace’s lack of experience in the development sector. He was formerly chief executive of Tesco in Poland.

A source close to the department said: “They’re going to be in trouble. They have an enormous programme to deliver next year and they’re going to have difficulty doing it without the staff.”

A Tesco spokesperson said: “These business changes are taking place to the benefit of the property division.

“Like any company, people come and go.”