Bargain Booze has poached Waitrose convenience director Diana Hunter to become its new chief executive.

Hunter will join the off licence chain in February. Keith Webb has been acting managing director at the retailer since Tim Stanley stepped down in July and will take up the position of deputy chief executive.

Hunter has been with Waitrose for eight years where she was charged with developing new formats including its Little Waitrose convenience stores. She had previously worked for Sainsbury’s for 13 years.

Bargain Booze chairman Roger Pedder said: “Diana has an excellent record of developing high quality retail formats and bringing innovation to the high street. Her skills and experience will further enhance the ability of our management team to drive the business to the next level and offer best-in-class store formats to our franchisees.

“We are investing significantly in consumer research, marketing and merchandising to ensure that Bargain Booze and all of our retail formats have strong customer appeal and continue to compete effectively in an evolving retail landscape.”

A Waitrose spokeswoman said: “We would like to thank her for her hard work in nearly nine years at Waitrose and wish her every success.”

The retailer has 670 stores across its Bargain Booze, Bargain Booze Plus, Select Convenience and Thorougoods franchised fascias. The retailer’s new £1m TV advertising campaign debuts next month.