Former Kingfisher chief executive Gerry Murphy is to become a senior managing director and partner at private equity giant Blackstone.

His appointment is likely to rekindle speculation that Kingfisher, owner of market-leading DIY chain B&Q, could become a private equity bid target.

Murphy left Kingfisher last month after five years in charge, during which time the store group’s fortunes and share price declined.

Until the credit crunch bit, there was frequent speculation that private equity firms were circling Kingfisher.

However, analysts were sceptical whether Murphy’s move to Blackstone will make a bid more likely. Investec analyst David Jeary said: “The appointment could fuel market speculation of an increased chance of private equity interest in Kingfisher, but we would not be too excited by this news.”