Joules has poached Asda’s clothing and general merchandise boss Nick Jones to become its new chief executive.

Jones will succeed Colin Porter, who is retiring before the end of the group’s 2019/20 financial year.

Joules did not specify Jones’ start date, but he is expected to take the reins before the end of 2019.

Asda said Derek Lawlor, its current boss of fresh trading, will step up to take on the role of senior vice president of food and general merchandise following Jones’ departure.

Jones began his retail career in 1995, when he joined the Marks & Spencer graduate scheme.

In 15 years with the business, Jones worked across a number of divisions including buying and merchandising, sourcing and investor relations.

He held the role of director of home, beauty and gifts when he was recruited by Asda in 2011.

Jones has overseen the supermarket giant’s George clothing brand and its general merchandise business over the last eight years.

In 2018, Jones was appointed to Asda’s executive board as senior vice president for George and general merchandise. His remit was later extended as senior vice president of commercial to include responsibility for all trading divisions, including grocery.

Jones said: “I am delighted to be joining Joules at such an exciting time in the company’s development. I have long admired Joules for its distinctive brand, its outstanding products and designs, and its connection with its customers.

“Whilst the business and brand has achieved fantastic growth over recent years, I share the board’s view that there are tremendous growth opportunities ahead, driven, in particular, by further international expansion and online growth.”

Joules chair Ian Filby added: “Nick’s extensive retail, brand and strategy credentials, as well as a clear alignment with the Joules values, made him the outstanding candidate for the role.”

Asda has reshuffled its leadership structure as a result of Jones’ exit.

The supermarket giant said Zoe Matthews, vice president of George brand, and Stephen Langford, vice president of George commercial, will now report directly into boss Roger Burnley.

Property boss Will Smith will now report into Asda’s chief financial officer Rob McWilliam.