Next property director Andrew Varley is to step down from the company next year after 27 years at the retailer.

Varley, who has been on the Next board for 22 years, will leave in June 2014. Between now and then he will continue in his role but leave the board on May 31.

Next group operations director Michael Law and group sales and marketing director Jane Shields will join the board of Next as executive directors on July 1.

Next said Varley’s departure “does not represent a change to the strategy of the business; the profitable expansion of our trading space remains a key part of the Group’s plans going forward”.

Next added: “Andrew has been an immensely important part of Next’s history and success.” 

Varley has been in his current role since 1991 during which time he has taken the Next portfolio from one million square feet to almost seven million today.

He has also held positions including managing director of retail and managing director of directory.