Boden has hired former Tesco director Jill Easterbrook as its chief executive in a surprise appointment.

Middle-class favourite Boden was formerly run by Julian Granville, who is now in the executive chairman role. Founder Johnnie Boden is now creative director.

Easterbrook, who will join Boden on February 27, held a variety of senior roles at Tesco over a 15-year period including stints as chief customer officer, group business transformation director and managing director of its clothing division. During her time at the grocer she also sat on the executive committee.

Prior to joining Tesco, Easterbrook spent four years as a management consultant at Cap Gemini Ernst & Young.

She is currently a non-executive director of Auto Trader Group.

Johnnie Boden said: “I am delighted to welcome Jill to Boden. She’s going to be fantastic at this job and I can’t wait for her to start.”

Easterbrook added: “I have long been a fan and customer of Boden. I am very pleased to be joining such an exciting and dynamic brand and look forward to continuing to build on the success the business has already achieved.”

Boden reported a downturn in profits in its full-years as pre-tax profits slid to £23.9m in the year to December 31, 2015, down from £32m the prior year.

Sales edged up however, from £280.7m to £283m.

The retailer, which has traditionally been via mail order and online, is now building a bricks-and-mortar presence.

The London-headquartered firm has one store already, located near London’s Hanger Lane, and has plans to open another two shops in 2017.

Boden is also in China, selling its Mini Boden range on Tmall.