John Dixon has said David Jones is a “perfect fit” for him after being confirmed as the Australian department store group’s new boss.

Australian department store David Jones

Former Marks & Spencer excutive Dixon will take over from Iain Nairn as chief executive at the retailer, which is owned by South Africa’s Woolworths group, in January.

Nairn, who took the top job in August last year, quit David Jones for “personal reasons”, according to Woolworths.

Nairn has agreed to stay on at the business for three months to help with the transition. He was driving a restructure of the group, including repositioning its fashion offer, technology, supply chain and store refurbishments.

David Jones also has a significant food offer. Prior to being M&S’s general merchandise boss, Dixon had led a turnaround of the retailer’s food business as director of food.

Move to Sydney

Dixon said: “It’s a privilege to take on such a role and I am hugely excited by the future possibilities for growth and continuing to be the pre-eminent department store business.

“I’m thoroughly looking forward to the challenge and my family and I are looking forward to living in Sydney. It’s a perfect fit for me.”

The Sydney-based department store group has 39 stores across Australia and is poised to open its first store in New Zealand next year after acquiring Kirkcaldie & Stains. Woolworths acquired David Jones last year for Aus2.1bn (£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.