Grocery wholesaler Metcash has named the head of a New Zealand discount retailer, Ian Morrice, as its new chief executive.

Mr Morrice, 52, will replace current Metcash chief executive Andrew Reitzer, who had previously announced his intention to retire, on June 30.

Mr Morrice was group chief executive and managing director of New Zealand's Warehouse Group from 2004 to 2011, and joined the Metcash board in June 2012.

Warehouse Group is similar to Walmart in the United States, and sells household, electrical and clothing goods.

Prior to his role at Warehouse Group, Mr Morrice worked as a managing director and senior executive at several retailers in the United Kingdom.

"Ian knows what its like to work in a fiercely competitive environment," Metcash chairman Peter Barnes said in a statement.

"He was schooled in the tough UK retail sector in companies such as Dixons and The Kingfisher Group, and has an intimate working knowledge of the Australian market."

Metcash distributes groceries to independent stores, and owns the IGA supermarket chain and Mitre 10 hardware business.

Mr Morrice's fixed annual salary will be $1.5 million, and he will be eligible for annual incentives worth another $1.5 million.