Lakeland has restructured its operating board as its owners the Rayner family step down from day-to-day running of the business, Retail Week can reveal.

The kitchenware specialist’s owners, Sam, Martin and Julian Rayner, will all retire from its operating board of directors as part of “a long-planned succession”, which will see chief executive Catherine Nunn take over as deputy chair.

Nunn will be succeeded by Lakeland’s current commercial director Steve Knights as chief executive and supported at board level by chief financial and operating officer Paul Lewis, chief commercial officer Scott Jefferson and chief customer officer Neil Piggot.

Operations director Gary Marshall will also step down after 16 years with the business.

Lakeland was founded in 1964, and while the Rayner family will retain ownership of the retailer this will be the first time a family member has not sat on its operating board.

The retailer said a “smaller board will allow Lakeland to be more agile while focusing on the most important areas of strategy and operational delivery”.

Lakeland said it is gearing up for “further changes to structures and positions throughout the company” in the coming weeks.

Sam Rayner said: “In my 46 years at the helm of Lakeland, I have never been so grateful to our colleagues who, responding to the recent unprecedented events, transformed and changed our company in just a few days to meet the challenges we all faced. Our colleagues adapted, changed and moved mountains and we will be forever grateful.

“We believe Lakeland’s overall strategy remains even more relevant now than ever before and will provide a clear focus and direction for the years to come. We have also learned over the past five months that certain elements of the strategy will now need to be delivered much more rapidly than was originally envisaged and this includes the review of our structure, along with accelerating our plans for the future running of the business.

“I’m delighted that we have been able to appoint our talented CEO, Catherine to the role of deputy chair who alongside Steve and their team will lead Lakeland into a new era.”