Holland & Barrett has appointed Homebase former managing director Echo Lu to supercharge its international expansion.

Lu will join the health and wellness retailer this month as its international managing director, and will be tasked with driving its store expansion and identifying franchise partnerships overseas.

She will succeed Kyle Rowe, who is exiting the business after 10 years, three of which he spent at the helm of its international arm.

This will be Lu’s first retail appointment since her exit from Homebase in the wake of its takeover by Bunnings owner Wesfarmers in 2016.

She has also held a variety of senior roles at Tesco, culminating as the grocer’s UK property director.

Her appointment at Holland & Barrett comes as the specialist retailer, which was acquired by L1 retail for £1.8bn last June, ramps up its international ambitions.

The retailer acquired Swedish retailer Hälsa för alla in November and plans to develop a 500-strong store estate across Scandinavia.

Holland & Barrett chief executive Peter Aldis said: “We are now entering a new and exciting chapter for our business and our new owners L1 share our ambition to scale up our global reach while consolidating our presence in the 16 territories in which we already operate.

“Echo is the ideal candidate to propel our international business to the next level. She has successfully led teams in complex multicultural environments and has extensive international experience across Europe, North America and Asia. We are delighted she is joining our board and look forward to working alongside her to deliver our global ambition.”

Lu added: “I am delighted to join Holland & Barrett, which is a great business with strong heritage, expertise and passion for health and wellness.

“I look forward to working with the Holland & Barrett and the L1 teams to build a leading global health and wellness platform and to create sustainable long-term growth.”