John Dixon, the former head of Marks & Spencer’s general merchandise unit, is expected to be unveiled as the new boss of Australian department store group David Jones.

Sky sources are reporting Dixon, who stepped down from M&S in July, will take over at the retailer, which also has a big food operation.

David Jones is owned by South African retail group Woolworths, which was first tipped by Retail Week as a possible destination for Dixon in July.

Dixon is set to take over from David Jones’ current boss Ian Nairn, who has exited suddenly, according to reports this morning. Nairn, who had been boss since August last year, was driving a restructure of the group, including repositioning its fashion offer, technology, supply chain and store refurbishments.

The Sydney-based department store group has 39 stores across Australia and is set to open its first store in New Zealand next year after acquiring Kirkcaldie & Stains. Woolworths acquired David Jones last year for AUD2.1bn (£926m).

Dixon, who left M&S after nearly 30 years with the retailer, had been tipped as a successor to current boss Marc Bolland before his shock departure.