BP veteran Richard Harding has been named as the petrol giant's new UK convenience retail director.

Harding will take over from Karen Hubbard, who is leaving after five years with BP on 1 December. He will be responsible for all of BP's convenience forecourt stores, including BP Connect, Wild Bean Café, and its joint venture with M&S Simpy Food.

"This is the job I have wanted to do for a long time," he said. "I am passionate about the UK retail business and feel I can make a real contribution."

During his 20 years at BP, Harding launched the company's first c-store offer in South Africa and negotiated and ran BP's joint venture with Safeway in the UK. Most recently he has been working on a number of projects for BP's European convenience retail division. "I can't wait to get down to business and into our stores leading into our Christmas trading period," Harding said.

He has some sizeable shoes to fill, however. According to BP, Hubbard had led an "extraordinary transformation of the UK business". During her time in the role she extended the number of BP Connect forecourt stores run as part of a joint venture with M&S Simply Food to 150 and oversaw the launch of the first standalone Wild Bean Café, in Portsmouth, in July. In September she also revealed the first franchise of a BP Connect with M&S Simply Food would open by the end of this year.