Superdrug owner AS Watson has promoted Steve Gray to the newly created position of international healthcare director.

At present Gray is health director of Superdrug and will take on his new role In January 2016 as the retailer seeks to reflect the growing importance of health to AS Watson’s strategy.

AS Watson group chief operating officer Malina Ngai said: “In the past decade when we have aggressively expanded our network from just over 7,000 to 11,500 stores today, we have put a lot of focus in building our beauty authority.

“As a leading international health and beauty retailer, we see increasing opportunities in health and wellbeing and hence decided to step up our focus on health in the total offering to our customers.

“In his new role, Steve will work closely with me to further build our health strategy and strengthen implementation in our operations, with the objective to accelerate the increase of healthcare sales and margin participation across the group.”

Gray joined Superdrug in 2012 and over the last two years has grown the health category by more than 20%, launched an online health offer called Online Doctor and led the development of the Wellbeing concept store.

Gray was chief operating at LloydsPharmacy parent business Celesio prior to joining AS Watson.