Pets at Home has hired former Asda president and chief executive Tony DeNunzio as its non-executive chairman to help drive growth under its new owner, private equity firm KKR.

DeNunzio, who is executive chairman of Maxeda, the biggest non-food retailer in the Netherlands, joined Pets at Home this week and takes over from Luke Mayhew.

DeNunzio headed Asda between 2002 and 2005, and is also a non-executive director of Alliance Boots which is, like Maxeda, backed by KKR.

The appointment came as KKR’s £955m acquisition of Pets at Home was completed and chief executive Matt Davies prepares for continued expansion.

DeNunzio said: “I am very excited to be working with Pets at Home. It is a great business with a great track record and a very clear strategy.

“I will work with Matt on the board. The plan is firstly to execute what is an excellent growth strategy and secondly to look at other growth opportunities. We will certainly try and add to the growth opportunities we already have.”

At Maxeda, DeNunzio said he has built up experience in Europe across department stores, DIY and fashion. “I have experience in rolling out new stores, marketing new brands and ecommerce, across a range of sectors,” he said.

He added that experience gained during his time at Asda would help him at Pets at Home. “Asda is very strong on own-label and very strong on supply chain, with a lot of sourcing from the Far East - these are all key,” said DeNunzio. “There is a focus on people in both businesses too. There are definitely some similarities between the two.”

Davies said: “Tony’s extensive experience at the top of large and successful retailers will be invaluable to Pets at Home.”

Heidrick & Struggles global retail practice managing partner Fran Minogue, who has worked closely with DeNunzio at Maxeda, said: “Tony has superb leadership skills. As chairman of Maxeda he has demonstrated his ability to work with chief executives across a wide range of businesses to set the strategic framework, giving them the freedom to execute but being there to support them. He has the experience to take the Pets business to the next level.”

Pets at Home operates 259 stores and recorded £70m EBITDA in the year to March 2009, on turnover of £404.2m.

Earlier this month, it was named Speciality Retailer of the Year and Employer of the Year at the Oracle Retail Week Awards.