Outgoing Harrods managing director Michael Ward will remain at the helm of the business until early next year after having his tenure extended.

As reported in March, Ward had been due to step down as the luxury department store’s managing director this summer, following 11 years with the iconic retailer.

But veteran Ward will now remain in charge until the end of January 2017, a Harrods spokeswoman told Retail Week.

Ward is understood to have told staff that he is staying on until the end of Harrods’ financial year and will lead the business through the crucial Christmas trading period.

It is unclear whether a successor to Ward has been lined up by the famous Knightsbridge department store.

Originally an accountant, Ward went on run health and beauty retailer Lloyds and worked for private equity house Apax before taking the helm at Harrods. He is also chairman of luxury brands organisation Walpole.

He has been a prominent campaigner in support of the relaxation of visa rules for Chinese visitors to the UK – important Harrods customers – as well as for airport expansion in the southeast of England.