Threshers owner First Quench Retailing is searching for a new chief executive after the resignation this week of Yvonne Rankin owing to ill health.

At present the troubled company is being run by chief financial officer Martin Healy, who stepped into the role when Rankin went on long-term sick leave in May this year.

First Quench, which also owns The Local and Haddows chains, is owned by Vision Capital, which acquired it in July 2007. In June, accounts filed at Companies House showed auditor Ernst & Young voicing “material uncertainty” about the group’s ability to continue as a going concern, although the company claimed it was progressing with a turnaround plan.

First Quench Retailing reported sales of £652.3m and a £30m loss for the year to June 28, 2008.