Kingfisher, the struggling DIY retail group, said its chief executive, Véronique Laury, is to leave the company after 16 years as it announced a fall in annual profits.
The firm behind the B&Q and Screwfix brands in the UK said it would immediately launch a search for a replacement for Laury, whose leaving date has yet to be decided.
Laury, 53, is one of only six female chief executives in the FTSE 100 and has been in the top job at Kingfisher for more than four years, during which time its shares have lost almost a quarter of their value.
News of her departure came as Kingfisher reported a 13% fall in pre-tax profits to £693m in the year to 31 January 2019, with poor trading at its French chain Castorama more than offsetting a stronger performance in the UK.
The company said Laury, who had been leading a turnaround plan at the group, “fully supports the decision” to find a new chief executive.
Andy Cosslett, the chairman, said: “We are now moving into a new phase where we can extract more of the benefits resulting from the hard work that has been put in and it is therefore timely that we commence a succession process.”
Laury said: “Leading the transformation has been so exciting but also very challenging. As the transformation approaches its final year, I believe it is right for someone else to lead the next phase of the One Kingfisher journey.”