Italian fashion group Benetton is losing its chief executive after three years as its profits and sales fell last year.

In its full year results for 2009 it said that profits fell to €122m (£109m) from €155m (£138.8m) the year before while sales for the group fell 3.7% across the year to €2.05bn (£1.83bn). It said that sales had been hit by the weak economic climate in many of its markets.

Its chief executive Gerolamo Caccia Dominioni will be replaced by Franco Furno and Biagio Chiarolanza who will jointly run the company.

Benetton said Furno will be the head of the commercial, product and HR while Chiarolanza will be responsible for administration, finance, operations and foreign business departments.

Benetton expects sales to be in line with last year in its first quarter but said that it expects the negative impact  of increased interest rates and new loans to be felt.