PetSmart has appointed retail industry veteran Michael J. Massey as its new president and chief executive to lead the business as it goes private.

Massey was previously chief executive and president of footwear group Collective Brands and replaces David Lenhardt, who stepped down upon the closing of the acquisition of the company by private equity firm BC Partners.

Lenhardt said: “I have been honoured and privileged to lead this great company. My 15-year journey with PetSmart is filled with wonderful memories of our passionate associates who represent the best and brightest in retail.

“I am confident that PetSmart will continue to lead the industry by creating more moments for people to be inspired by pets.”

The sale was approved by PetSmart stockholders at a special meeting of stockholders held on March 6 and as a result of the acquisition the company’s stock was taken off the NASDAQ on March 11.

PetSmart was sold to a consortium led by European private equity firm BC Partners for $8.7bn (£5.6bn) in December.

The sale of the US-based pet supplies retailer was the largest leveraged buyout of the year and came following a long period of pressure from activist investors.