DIY giant B&Q has bolstered its top team with the appointment of former Matalan chief executive Darren Blackhurst as commercial director.

Blackhurst, a former group trading director of Asda who also has 18 years’ experience at Tesco, joins B&Q tomorrow.

His experience at big retailers with value propositions is seen as a good fit with B&Q, as boss Kevin O’Byrne builds bench strength at the retailer.

Blackhurst can also speak French, which will prove useful as B&Q owner Kingfisher continues to find synergies across the group, which makes more than half its annual profit from its businesses in France - Castorama and Brico Dépôt.

The hiring also simplifies the senior management structure because there were formerly two commercial directors.

O’Byrne said: “Darren has extensive UK and international commercial experience and is a strong leader. He will be a very good addition to the B&Q team.”

O’Byrne began an overhaul of B&Q’s leadership team last October when he assumed direct control of the flagship UK and Ireland business. He appointed Steve Willett to lead B&Q’s omnichannel business and drafted in Chris Moss – famous for creating the Orange telecomms brand – as customer and marketing director, a new position for B&Q.

Blackhurst replaces Ian Herrett and Ebru Sayilan-Nebol. They may be offered other opportunities at Kingfisher.