Poundworld’s chief executive Gerry Gray has exited the business for “personal reasons” after less than two years at the helm, Retail Week can reveal.

The value retailer has appointed executive chairman Steve Johnson to act as chief executive on an interim basis while a successor for Gray is sought.

Gray, who has left the business with immediate effect, was appointed as chief executive of Poundworld in March 2016, succeeding founder Chris Edwards.

Gray has previously held a variety of senior roles at Tesco, culminating with chief operating officer.

Poundworld slipped into the red in its latest full-year results in February, registering a pre-tax loss of £5.4m.

Steve Johnson said: “Gerry has made a great contribution to the business and has overseen significant progress at the company.

“We would like to thank him for his leadership and wish him every success in the future.”

Poundworld has invested in upgrading its operating system and consolidating its distribution network over the last year, as well as diversifying its product range outside of a single-price format