A FORMER investment banker will be the new head of Liberty department store.

Marco Capello leads the private equity team that yesterday finalised its £32m deal for the historic Regent Street store.

BlueGem Capital Partners, run by former Merrill Lynch bankers, said it would “continue to revive this utterly unique British brand”.

Capello said: “Liberty has always been a beacon for cutting-edge artists and designers.

“It is a national treasure ?– one that we intend to nurture and grow.” He said the fabrics section and jewellery room would be expanded.

Geoffroy de la Bourdonnaye had been chief executive for three years. The French businessman stays on as a non-executive director.

He was given credit for making the traditional brand more modern. Sales grew 20 per cent last year, and in the first half of this year the company became profitable for the first time in a decade.

Deals with big labels, designers and artists such as Grayson Perry have drawn in younger shoppers and freshened up ranges throughout the store.

Liberty had been majority-owned by hotel group MWB.