Hughes will leave the board at the end of the calendar year "as a natural part of planned board succession", the supermarket said this morning. Davidson will join the board as a non-executive director on 1 October and take on the committee reins "after a suitable handover".
Davidson has worked at numerous supermarket suppliers including Northern Foods, where he rose to become managing director of its milk division. He was also chief executive of Express Dairies and Arla Foods, both of which are suppliers to Morrisons.
The move comes at a challenging time for Morrisons in its relationships with suppliers, having been one of the supermarkets targeted during a series of protests by dairy farmers around the retail cost of milk.
Morrisons has since committed to creating a premium milk brand that costs an extra 10p per litre, which will go directly to the farmers.
Morrisons chairman Andrew Higginson said: "Neil Davidson brings a wealth of experience in the UK food manufacturing and retail sectors from his time as chief executive of Express Dairies and Arla Foods and as a major supplier to Morrisons. I am pleased to welcome him to the Morrisons board. I would also like to thank Penny Hughes for her contribution and dedication to the board over the last six years."