River Island has hired former Wiggle and The White Company boss Will Kernan as its chief executive.

Will Kernan

Will Kernan

Current chief executive Ben Lewis, nephew of founder Bernard Lewis, is stepping down after nine years but will remain at the business as a non-executive director.

Kernan, who had been boss of cycling specialist Wiggle since 2017, will join in September.

He previously led The White Company for five years, before which he worked at New Look for 13 years, ultimately in the role of chief operating officer.

River Island has managed to sustain sales in a tough market which has been under pressure from more agile and cheaper online competitors. However, operating profit shrank in its last full year as the business invested heavily in its proposition.

Chair of River Island Clive Lewis added: “Ben steps aside following a distinguished tenure and the board is extremely grateful for his leadership. Succession has been carefully planned and, following a rigorous selection process, we are confident Will has the right skills, experience and vision to lead the company in this exciting new chapter.”