Home Retail has confirmed the appointment of former Tesco executive Echo Lu as Homebase managing director, as revealed by Retail Week yesterday.

Homebase parent Home Retail revealed in October that it would part company with former managing director Paul Loft as it revealed plans to close a quarter of its stores.

Lu was previously group business planning and insight director at Tesco, where according to her LinkedIn profile she was responsible for “the integrated business plans across the group businesses and strategic insights for the board”.

Loft, who has been managing director at Homebase for almost 12 years, has remained at the retailer during the hunt for a new successor in order to ensure a smooth transition. Lu takes up the posiiton on April 20.

Lu’s appointment means the country’s two biggest DIY retailers are both run by a woman, following Véronique Laury landing the top job at B&Q owner Kingfisher.

Prior to taking on the group business planning and insight director role at Tesco, Lu acted as property director for two years for the UK and Ireland board.

Other roles at Tesco have included the chief operating office role of its China business and operations director of Tesco’s east China division.

Lu began her career in HR where she rose up the ranks of US pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb.

A spokesman for Home Retail declined to comment on Wednesday but on Thursday the retailer confirmed the appointment.

Home Retail boss John Walden said: “Echo has significant, broad-based retail experience both in the UK and the rapidly evolving Asian region, and importantly has been an agent for positive change throughout her career. 

“She is the ideal candidate to lead Homebase and its Productivity Plan, as we improve the store operational standards and customer service, develop stronger customer propositions and accelerate Homebase’s digital capabilities, and realise its potential for greater growth.”

Lu said: “I am delighted to join Home Retail Group and to lead the Homebase business.  Homebase is a strong UK brand with an ambitious plan in the short-term to strengthen its foundations and exciting longer-term growth opportunities.  I look forward to working with John, his executive team, the Homebase leadership team and the 18,000 Homebase colleagues to build a stronger business for the future.”