Harvey Nichols has appointed former Burberry finance boss Stacey Cartwright as its new chief executive, replacing Joseph Wan who has been in the post for 21 years.

Cartwright, who left Burberry after nine years in February last year, will start at the luxury department store retailer on February 17, ending months of speculation she would take the position.

Cartwright said: “I am delighted to be joining Harvey Nichols at such an exciting time in the luxury retail market; a market which demonstrates significant potential and for which I have enormous passion. I am excited by the opportunity to further develop this world class brand both in the UK and internationally.”

As Burberry’s chief financial officer and executive vice president, Cartwright was key in helping to transform the Burberry brand from a business generating turnover of £676m when she joined in 2004 to a business with over £2bn revenue in 2013. She was also responsible for overseeing Burberry’s launch into China and the Middle East.

Wan will retire at the end of March.

Wan said: “Nothing gives me greater pleasure than handing over to Stacey a stronger Harvey Nichols than the one I joined. I wish Stacey well in her new role and under her leadership, I look forward to seeing Harvey Nichols growing from strength to strength.”

Harvey Nichols group chairman Dickson Poon thanked Wan for his “significant contribution” and welcomed Cartwright to the business.

He added: “Stacey joins us with an outstanding track record in growing and transforming world class companies, most recently in the luxury retail sector. Her appointment underlines our commitment to raising the bar even higher in this sector, strengthening both our leadership team and the exceptional service, products and experience we give to our customers at home and abroad.”