Uniqlo Europe chief executive Takao Kuwahara has left his position to take up the role of chief operating officer at the fashion retailer’s Japanese arm.

Uniqlo confirmed the transfer and told Retail Week that it forms part of the company’s “executive rotation program”.

Kuwahara, who is Fast Retailing group executive vice-president, took charge of Uniqlo Europe in September 2015.

His transfer to Japan was effective from the start of last month, but Kuwahara has remained in Europe until October to allow for a brief transition period.

He has been succeeded by Taku Morikawa – also Fast Retailing group executive vice-president – who the retailer said will lead the European division in “an exciting period of expansion”.

A spokesman said: “As part of the company’s executive rotation program, Takao Kuwahara, Fast Retailing group executive vice president, will transfer from his position as Uniqlo Europe chief executive into a new role as chief operating officer of Uniqlo Japan.

“Succeeding Mr Kuwahara is Taku Morikawa, Fast Retailing group executive vice-president. Mr Morikawa will lead the Uniqlo Europe business in his new position as chief executive in an exciting period of expansion for Uniqlo in the region.”

Uniqlo swung to a pre-tax loss in the year to August 31 as investment in its expansion plan and the weakening euro against the dollar hampered its bottom line.