Pets at Home has hired Wilkinson’s head of buying Peter Pritchard as its new trading director.

He will replace Catriona Marshall, who will leave the business to “pursue other opportunities and challenges”. She is seen as a key figure at Pets at Home, and will leave at the end of December.

Pritchard, who takes up his position in January, has “extensive experience” across food and non food over a 20 year career that has spanned Asda, Iceland, Sainsburys and Marks and Spencer.

Pets at Home chief executive Matt Davies said: “After seven years of dedication and hard work at Pets at Home, Catriona has made a personal decision to seek new challenges. She has been a fantastic colleague and we will all miss her. I would like to thank her for everything she’s contributed to the Company’s success and wish her all the best in the next stage of her career.

“Meanwhile we’re delighted that Peter has agreed to join us. Peter is not only a first-class retailer but a committed pet owner, with a cat called Stirling and a search underway for a chocolate Labrador puppy. I’m really looking forward to working with him as Pets At Home enters its next phase of growth.”