Oxford Summer School boss Dominic Prendergast has been named managing director of struggling Irish department store Clerys.

Prendergast takes up the position with immediate effect and replaces PJ Timmins, who stepped down last week, the Irish Independent reported.  

US investment firm Gordon Brothers acquired the business out of receivership for around €14m (£11.2m) in September.

Prendergast has had a wide-ranging retail career, working at Allders, Mothercare, Early Learning Centre, BHS and Thorntons. He was retail director at Jessops in 2008.

He faces a turnaround challenge at debt-laden Clerys and staff from sister shop Guineys & Co in Dublin protested outside Clerys last month after losing their jobs at short notice.

Clerys has lost almost €4m (£3.2m) over the past two years and has outstanding debts of around €26m (£20.8m) owed to Bank of Ireland.

Gordon Brothers Europe chief executive Frank Morton said: “Dominic will bring a renewed impetus and momentum to the business through fresh and innovative thinking, backed up by a wealth of experience in the retail sector and a track record of building shareholder value.”

Prendergast will continue his work as managing director of Oxford Summer School, the training academy for rising stars in retail.