Shop Direct chief executive Mark Newton-Jones is to leave the home shopping giant.

Newton-Jones, who has overseen the business’ transformation from catalogue group to one to the UK’s largest online retailers, has told the board he wants to seek new challenges in the medium term.

Newton-Jones will stay at Shop Direct until July 2013 to maintain stability during the year ahead and ensure a smooth transition with his successor.

The home shopping group has started to look for his replacement.

Newton-Jones said: “We have a great team at Shop Direct and the business outperformed in 2011. I’ve enjoyed my time at Shop Direct immensely but now feel the time is right to seek new challenges. I will be fully focused to ensure a smooth handover and am committed to staying with the business for the next 18 months in what looks set to be a challenging year for all retailers.”