The announcement, made on Friday evening, followed mounting speculation in the press.
The news delivers another blow for Tesco as analysts expect the group to announce a 10% fall in profits in its its full-year results on 16 April, while shares in the retail giant are at their lowest levels in almost 10 years.
In a statement to the stock market, Tesco announced that McIlwee will remain in his role to ensure a smooth handover to his successor. According to the statement the board is considering both internal and external candidates in its search to appoint a new CFO.
Sir Richard Broadbent, Tesco chairman, said, “I would like to thank Laurie for his contribution to Tesco over the last 14 years.
"Together with Philip and the wider team, Laurie has played an important role in our process to transform Tesco and position it to be a winner in the new era of retailing. I and the Board wish him every success for the future.”
Laurie McIlwee said, “I am proud of what we have achieved at Tesco over the last few years. However, after 14 years at Tesco I feel that now is the right time for me to pursue new opportunities. I wish Philip and the team well and I am absolutely confident that Tesco will emerge from the current period of unprecedented change in the industry stronger than ever.”