Habitat chief executive Mark Saunders has left the business following the hiring of former New Look boss Phil Wrigley as executive chairman last week.
Amid the management shake-up, head of UK retail Rob Lane has also exited the furniture and homewares retailer. Owner Hilco is seeking replacements for both positions.
Hilco chief executive Paul McGowan said: “Following the appointment of Phil Wrigley as executive chairman, Mark Saunders has left the company. The business is moving forward and we decided a change in personnel would accelerate that process.
“Everything is ahead of plan and we remain very happy with our investment.”
He added that a replacement for Saunders has “been identified” but is not able to take up the position at present for contractual reasons. McGowan hopes to hire the individual in “the next two months”.
He also said Habitat was in the process of hiring a new head of UK retail but in the interim the position will be filled by a Hilco executive.
Hilco, which also owns Allied Carpets, bought the loss-making Habitat business in December from Ikea owners the Kamprad Family, which agreed to inject around £27m in the form of a dowry into the business.
As well as being appointed executive chairman of Habitat, Wrigley will also sit on Hilco’s new advisory board, which McGowan said Hilco is forming as the business gets “bigger and more complex, with more complicated and long-term investments”. He added: “We need luminaries and experienced retail executives.”
Habitat made losses of £35m last year. Saunders joined Habitat in April last year from Levi Strauss Europe where he was vice-president of retail. It is thought Saunders has left Habitat without a job to go to.
Habitat, which has 72 stores across Europe including 35 in the UK, has had a turbulent senior management team in recent years. In 2008 Habitat UK country manager Ruth Dangerfield left the business, the same month chief executive Jens Nordahl exited.
Hilco has embarked on a cost-cutting drive since it acquired the business and converted into equity £60m of Habitat’s £100m debts in order to put it on a firmer footing.
Habitat was founded by designer Sir Terence Conran and the first store was opened in London in 1964.