Kate Swann is to step down as CEO of WHSmith next year.

Swann, who has been at the helm of the high street retailer for the past nine years, will be replaced on 30 June by Steve Clarke.

Clarke is currently the MD of WHSmith’s high street business. He joined the company in August 2004.

“It has been a great privilege to lead WHSmith for the last nine years,” Swann said. “WHSmith has a first class management team who are focused on running the business in the best interests of shareholders.”

Swann ranked at number 26 on The Grocer’s Power List 2012.

WHSmith also said retail finance director Robert Moorhead would become group finance director and chief operating officer from 1 July next year.

News of Swann’s departure came as WHSmith revealed a 10% increase in full-year pre-tax profits to £102m.

However, the retailer is continuing to cut costs at the expense of sales. Group total sales fell 2% in the year to 31 August, with like-for-like sales down 5%.

Total sales in its travel division rose 2% during the year, but were down 3% on a like-for-like basis. High street sales fell 5%, which WHSmith said was “in line with our strategic plan”.