Former John Lewis managing director Luke Mayhew has been appointed chairman of industry association the British Retail Consortium.

Mayhew, who is also chairman of private-equity backed store group Pets at Home and a non-executive director of WHSmith, will succeed incumbent Sir Geoff Mulcahy on May 1. He has also worked previously for PR firm Shandwick and the Department of Trade and Industry.

BRC chief executive Stephen Robertson said: “Luke brings a wide background of retail leadership, together with an excellent understanding of how government and the media work. I look forward to working with him during these challenging times for retail.”

Robertson paid tribute to the contribution of Mulcahy, the former Kingfisher chief who has chaired the organisation for three years. He said: “Geoff has helped build an outstanding organisation to serve the retail sector.”

Issues on the BRC agenda at present include business rates, the national minimum wage and the impact of European rules on retailers.