Fashion retailer Republic has hired former TK Maxx boss Paul Sweetenham as its new chief executive. Republic co-founder Tim Whitworth, who has been chief executive for 10 years, is stepping back from the day-to-day running of the business.

Whitworth will remain at Republic as a non-executive director and will continue to advise on its operational and growth strategies.

Sweetenham left TJX Europe, which owns TK Maxx, last month. He was senior executive president of its European business.

Whitworth said: “It feels like a very natural time for me to move roles. Paul is a wonderful retailer and has more experience in running larger, international businesses than I have. It is now at a stage, and size, that match Paul’s skill set perfectly.”

Whitworth set up Republic over 20 years ago alongside Carl Brewins and has been chief executive of the business for 10 years.

Brewins also stepped back his day to day involvement in the business last month for personal reasons, while chief operating officer Guy Critchlow exited in November.

Republic non executive chairman Andy Bond said: “Tim has taken Republic from being a small fashion chain to a leading UK high street retailer. The board welcomes Paul Sweetenham who has extensive experience in large businesses and who will be instrumental in driving Republic’s next stage of growth.”

Sweetenham will take up the post on March 12.