The boss of under-pressure retailer Mothercare has resigned after less than two years in the role.
Simon Calver’s exit as chief executive with immediate effect comes six weeks after the company issued a profits warning due to poor Christmas trading in the UK.
Mr Calver was a surprise choice to run the baby products retailer in April 2012 after seven years at the helm of internet movie rental firm LoveFilm.
He has overseen a major store reduction programme but the company, which includes the Early Learning Centre, has struggled to revive profitability in the face of fierce competition from supermarkets and online retailers.
Mothercare gave no reason for Mr Calver’s resignation but stressed that there has been no change in the company’s trading position or strategy.
The rest of Mothercare’s executive team will take on the running of the business while the search for Mr Calver’s replacement takes place.
Chairman Alan Parker said Mr Calver had made progress in implementing the company’s turnaround programme.
He added: “In particular, Simon Calver’s e-commerce expertise has allowed Mothercare to accelerate its development as a multi-channel retailer in the UK.
“Mothercare has a strong executive management team which is very capable of running the business in the interim while the search for a new chief executive is under way.”
Mr Calver’s contract entitles him to £250,000 in lieu of six months’ notice.
The group, which has around 230 stores under the Mothercare and Early Learning Centre brands, made a loss of £21.7 million in the UK during its most recent financial year.
Last month, analysts said they expected a deficit of around £18 million in the current year to the end of March, although stronger trading by international franchise stores meant the company was still set to make a profit.