It was announced in February that Tim Smith would be leaving the FSA at the end of October after four years at the helm.
However, he left the agency last month to remove any perceptions of conflict of interest after securing an unspecified role in the private sector.
Tesco group commercial director Kevin Grace confirmed Smith was joining the company: “Tim has an outstanding background for the role with experience in both the public and private sector.
“He'll bring deep knowledge and breadth of experience which will help us realise our wider ambitions for the business in this area. His early priorities will include our work on quality and freshness, further strengthening an ethical and secure supply base across the group.”
Smith, who was previously chief executive of Arla Foods and Sara Lee, said he would apply the consumer values of the FSA at Tesco.
“After a long career as both a branded and own-label food manufacturer, much of which involved supplying Tesco, it was a challenge to switch priorities to lead the UK’s regulator of the food industry,” he said.
“However, the principle of doing the right thing for consumers was exactly the same. Now I’m delighted to able to apply those same values to what is, in my opinion, the world’s leading retailer.
"I have long admired the qualities of the Tesco people and their business and look forward to doing what I can to help in the next phase of Tesco’s development.”
Smith will be replaced at the FSA by Catherine Brown. She is currently the chief executive of the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA), an executive agency of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
Before joining Animal Health Catherine was a managing director at BUPA and she has also worked for the NHS and Unilever.
She begins work at the FSA in October.