Debenhams chief executive Rob Templeman, one of retail’s most highly regarded bosses, is to become chairman of industry body the British Retail Consortium.

Templeman will take up the role in October, a month after relinquishing leadership of the department store group, and succeeds Luke Mayhew.

His breadth of experience as a former chief executive of retailers ranging from DIY group Homebase to motor accessories group

Halfords, and extensive network of contacts in the sector and government, is expected to be invaluable as store groups battle some of the most depressed trading conditions in memory.

He also has experience of privately owned as well as public companies, and his general merchandise background will complement the food sector insight of the BRC’s deputy chair, Tesco corporate and legal affairs director Lucy Neville-Rolfe.

BRC director-general Stephen Robertson said: “Rob is a heavyweight in the world of retail. His huge experience and formidable knowledge of the big issues that the sector faces make him an ideal chairman as we work to create a vibrant and sustainable retail industry for the future.”

Templeman said: “Retail is one of the UK’s largest employers and represents an important part of the country’s economy and the BRC has proven to be the authoritative voice for the industry.

“I think all of us in retail have a part to play in ensuring we make a strong industry and that we are represented. I have had 30 years in retail and need to give something back.”

Templeman was placed in the role by Sally Elliott of headhunter Korn/Ferry Whitehead Mann.