Paul Geddes is one of the top candidates to become chief executive of DIY giant Kingfisher, Retail Week understands.

Geddes, who stood down as chief executive of insurance giant Direct Line last month, is said to be one of a small number of contenders to succeed Veronique Laury at the helm of the B&Q owner.

One source said that the choice is likely to be between Geddes and a French candidate – as well as B&Q, Kingfisher owns French home enhancement giant Castorama.

Geddes was previously understood to be among those considered to succeed Sir Charlie Mayfield as chair of department store and grocery group John Lewis Partnership. That role went to Ofcom boss Sharon White, whose appointment was announced last week.

It is thought that Kingfisher has been keen to appoint as chief executive somebody with broad experience, rather than a pure retail background.

As a former Argos marketing director, where he also helped build its online operations, Geddes would bring retail expertise.

But he would bring experience from a wide range of consumer facing businesses, having previously worked at Procter & Gamble as well as in financial services retail. He also led the listing of Direct Line on the Stock Exchange and into the FTSE 100.

Kingfisher disclosed in March that Laury, who has been with the business since 2003 and became chief executive in 2014, would stand down but did not give an exact date. Laury’s One Kingfisher strategy was designed to transform the business but the group has been under pressure and profits fell last year.

A Kingfisher spokesman declined to comment on the chief executive succession, other than to say that a search was ongoing.