B&Q chief executive Michael Loeve is to step down after almost two years at the helm of the DIY chain, Retail Week can reveal.

Loeve is leaving for family reasons and returning to his home country of Denmark.

Loeve’s exact leaving date has not yet been decided and he will remain at Kingfisher-owned B&Q for at least a month as the search for his successor gets underway.

In the meantime, Kingfisher chief sales and retail operations officer Jean-Paul Constant will assume additional responsibilities and work alongside Loeve.

Loeve’s departure comes at a time of change for Kingfisher and UK DIY retail.

Kingfisher is in the midst of a transformation programme and faces new competition from Australian rival Bunnings, which bought Homebase last year and is in the process of overhauling stores to its model.

However, B&Q has performed well. In its last full year, the retailer posted a total sales decline of 3.3% to £3.68bn, but that reflected planned store closures. Like-for-like sales climbed 3.5%.

Kingfisher’s UK and Ireland division, which includes Screwfix as well as B&Q, delivered a 9.9% increase in retail profits to £358m.

Under Loeve’s leadership, B&Q unveiled a prototype store at Cribbs Causeway in Bristol, elements of which are likely to be replicated elsewhere across the retailer’s estate.

Constant said: “We’d like to thank Michael for his energy, enthusiasm and leadership of B&Q, and for the key role he has played in the One Kingfisher transformation plan.”