Margaret McDonald, the chief executive of upmarket fashion retailer LK Bennett, is to step down from the business.

McDonald joined the retailer in January 2009 from Gap-owned retailer Banana Republic, where she was vice-president for Europe. McDonald will remain at LK Bennett as an adviser and chairman Robert Bensoussan will take up the role of chief executive on an interim basis.

McDonald had been working alongside Bensoussan to reposition the retailer as an affordable luxury chain with a global reach.

Former Jimmy Choo boss Bensoussan led a buyout of LK Bennett in the summer of 2008 via his Sirius Equity private equity vehicle in a deal rumoured to be worth £80m. The retailer had sales of about £60m in 2008, split 45% clothing to 45% footwear and 10% bags and accessories.

LK Bennett has about 100 UK stores and concessions within department stores such as John Lewis and Selfridges.

Bensoussan told Retail Week sister title Drapers: “Our chief executive officer, Margaret McDonald, has informed us of her intention to leave LK Bennett. We would like to thank Margaret for her strong contribution over the past eighteen months in helping to develop LK Bennett as the leading affordable luxury brand in the UK.”

He added: “I will assume the role of chief executive in addition to my role of executive chairman until further notice.”