Dobbies has appointed former Somerfield and Maplin boss John Cleland as chief executive with immediate effect following its recent sale.

John Cleland has named chief executive of Dobbies

John Cleland

John Cleland started work at Dobbies today.

The appointment reunites Cleland with Andrew Bracey, the former Ocado finance director who knows Cleland from his time at Somerfield and who last month led the £217m acquisition of Dobbies from Tesco.

Cleland’s wide-ranging experience of retail is to expected to enable the new owners to drive forward their growth strategy to take advantage of Dobbies powerful appeal in a fragmented market.

Cleland, who was chief executive of Maplin from 2012 until 2015 and who is still a non-executive director of the electricals specialist, arrived at the 35-branch Dobbies today.

He replaces Andy King, who will stay on as a strategic adviser to the Dobbies board.

As well as Somerfield and Maplin, Cleland previously held senior management positions at Asda and B&Q.

Dobbies investor Barney Burgess said: “It is great news that John is joining as chief executive. He will Play a pivotal role in the future Dobbies success story.”

Bracey added: “We also want to publicly recognise the role of Andy King who has been a great steward of Dobbies.”

Cleland said he has long been “an admirer” of Dobbies, which he described as “one of the great heritage brands in British retail”.

He said: “We hope to build on that and create a stronger, market leading company. I am very much looking forward to working with new colleagues to grow the business together in the future.”

Bracey has previously told Retail Week that Dobbies’s new owners – his Midlothian Capital Partners alongside Hattington Capital – hope to add more stores across the UK and bolster its online platform.