Aurora Fashions has appointed Mike Shearwood as chief executive.

Shearwood, previously deputy chief executive, has replaced Derek Lovelock, who has become executive chairman of the group, which owns fashion chains Karen Millen, Coast, Oasis and Warehouse.

Aurora said its annual global sales totalled around £720m and net debt of about £110m. The group said it is “strongly cash generative”.

The group, which operates from 1,427 stores in 45 countries including the UK, said that “its performance at the end of the first half was significantly ahead of bank plan as set out at Aurora’s inception in March 2009 and the group is well positioned for future growth”.

The retailer - formed out of the adminsitration of Mosaic in March - added that margins have declined in the six months since March due to currency fluctuations and the loss of its forward hedging facility at the time of the administration of its backer, nationalised Icelandic bank Kaupthing.

It has negotiated a new hedging facility with Barclays and has “substantial” forward cover.

Shearwood joined Mosaic in September 2007 from Inditex where he was UK managing director.

He said: “This is a very exciting time to take the helm at Aurora. We have achieved a great deal in the last six months and I’m very much looking forward to working with our teams and to drive our future growth and expansion through all sales channels in both domestic and international markets.”

Lovelock will focus on strategy, exploring development opportunities and supporting the brands on product, sourcing and supply chain.

There has been much speculation surrounding Aurora since the administration of Mosaic, which was part-owned by Baugur as well as Kaupthing. In recent weeks Aurora has insisted that speculation that there might be a sale or break-up of the group is unfounded.

In the first half, the retailer opened 137 outlets, including 110 in overseas markets. In the UK the retailer opened 27 outlets including six standalone stores and 21 concessions in department stores including John Lewis, House of Fraser and Debenhams. It plans to open a further 18 UK concessions and eight standalone stores in the next six months, taking its total number of UK outlets to 863.

Ecommerce sales jumped 20% on last year and the chain’s sites now deliver to 26 international markets.