BHS has confirmed Darren Topp as its interim chief executive, following the departure of long-standing head Richard Price.
Topp has been at BHS for six years, and steps up from his current role as chief operating officer with immediate effect.
The change at the top comes just days after the department store chain was sold off by Sir Philip Green – reportedly for £1 – to a new and unknown company called Retail Acquisitions, which is headed by former Nebarro Wells director Keith Smith and former racing driver Dominic Chappell.
Retail Acquisitions said at the time its main priority was finding a new chairman – now it has to find a permanent chief executive too.
Price is understood to have resigned prior to the deal going ahead to join Tesco's clothing brand F&F, but was expected to stay on during the transition period. However staff were told yesterday that he had left and that Topp was stepping into the breach.
He said he was “really looking forward to working with our new owners” as they collectively “return the business to its glory days”.
Topp – who has wracked up more than 20 years at Marks & Spencer – added: “There are clearly some challenges ahead and no magic wand we can wave, but we have a clear strategy which is already showing some signs of success with the best sales performance for a decade, and we continue to trade positively.
“As a result, I believe we can look forward to the next chapter in the company’s history with confidence.”
Chappell said: “Over the past few weeks we have spent a significant amount of time with Darren and the leadership team, who have more than 300 years of retail experience between them. We look forward to working with them to build on the initial successes of the turnaround plan and return BHS to profitability.”