Kingfisher group chief executive Ian Cheshire has named two of his leading deputies as his potential successor when he steps down from the role in as little as three years.

Cheshire, who expects to remain in his role until at least 2016, named the chief executive of the B&Q brand Kevin O’Byrne and Kingfisher finance director Karen Witts as his preferred internal candidates to succeed him.

He told Bloomberg that Euan Sutherland, who this year left his role as Kingfisher chief operating officer to head Co-operative Group, is a potential external candidate.

O’Byrne was promoted into the new role of leading the B&Q brand in UK, Ireland and China last year, as well as Kingfisher’s Turkish brand. He joined Kingfisher in 2008 as group finance director. Before that he was finance director at Dixons.

Witts replaced O’Byrne last year, joining from Vodafone where she was chief financial officer.

Cheshire was appointed group chief executive of Kingfisher in 2008 after a decade at the DIY giant. He said that, like all Kingfisher team managers, he must identify at least two internal candidates to succeed him.

Cheshire said he was committed to three more years running Kingfisher to complete his “Creating the Leader” strategy, which kicked off in March 2012.

“From my point of view, I’m cheerfully turning things down because I want to be here,” he said. “I know I won’t be running the business in 10 years, but I will be running it in two years.”