Former Kingfisher and MFI director Steven Round has been named chief executive of private equity-owned hardware retailer Robert Dyas.

He will join at the end of May and replaces Rob Cissell, who is leaving to become chief operating officer of Wal-Mart China (Retail Week, March 20).

Round is highly regarded for his achievements at MFI, where he worked at the height of its difficulties. He prepared MFI’s French business, Hygena Cuisines, for sale – it fetched£92 million, double City expectations – then whipped the UK retail arm into shape ahead of its sale to Merchant Equity.

His appointment is likely to fuel speculation that Change Capital – the private equity owner of Robert Dyas, which is headed by Round’s former Kingfisher colleague Roger Holmes – is preparing for a sale when conditions are right.

A source familiar with the situation said Cissell had done a good job at Robert Dyas and Round would take the business to the next stage. Round, who has extensive marketing experience, is expected to hone the retailer’s consumer focus.

Change Capital bought 136-year-old Robert Dyas for£61 million in 2004. The 105-store business generates sales of about£100 million a year.

No comment was available from Round – who is understood to be finishing a consultancy project – or Change Capital.