Amazon UK managing director Brian McBride has stepped down from the business for health reasons.

McBride, who joined in January 2006, will be replaced by vice-president for media products Christopher North.

McBride said it had been a “privilege” to be at Amazon for five years but it was “time for me to focus on my medical condition”. He said:

“I will soon begin treatment for prostate cancer and my doctor is optimistic about a positive outcome. I will truly miss the entire UK team but this is the right time to hand over the reins.”

During McBride’s tenure, Amazon launched best-selling products in the UK such as the Kindle and introduced food on its site. It is also thought to be close to a deal to buy online film rental service Lovefilm for nearly £200m. Amazon already has a 42% stake in Lovefilm following a tie-up with its European film rental business in 2008. senior vice-president for international retail Diego Piacentini said: “Brian’s steady leadership has embodied Amazon’s obsession with customers and I want to thank him for his tremendous contributions over these last five years.

“We are relieved to hear his condition is fully treatable and we respect his decision to step down at this time - he will be missed. Every member of the Amazon family wishes Brian a speedy recovery.”

North joined in October 2006 as head of books before taking up the role of vice-president of media which includes books, music, DVD, software, video games, MP3 and print on demand.