Clarks has appointed Melissa Potter as chief executive of the footwear retailer.

Potter, who is currently managing director of Clarks, will take over from Peter Bolliger when he retires in May.

Clarks chairman Peter Davies said: “Over the last few months the board has undertaken a comprehensive and thorough selection process, supported by international recruitment consultants Egon Zehnder and has concluded that Melissa is undoubtedly the best candidate to lead the continuing development and growth of Clarks.”

Potter joined Clarks in 1988 as a graduate trainee and has held various roles in consumer facing, product and operational roles. She headed up the children’s business for three years, before being appointed to oversee operations in the UK.

In 2006, Potter became managing director of Clarks’ combined UK and international business and was appointed to the board.

Potter will take up her role at the end of April.

Davies added: “On behalf of the board, the shareholders, and our employees, I would like to thank Peter Bolliger for his excellent leadership of Clarks over the last 14 years.

“During his time in the company, he has modernised our market leading retail business, overseen the transfer of manufacturing operations from the UK, driven the investment in infrastructure and systems, and created the vision for Clarks as a global brand. The robustness of our performance during the recent difficult economic times is a great testament to the job Peter has done in building the strength of the Clarks brand.

“We wish Peter a happy and healthy retirement.”