McColl’s Retail Group founder James Lancaster has declared he is “no longer retiring” after taking on the sole role of chief executive this week.

In the convenience store chain’s IPO prospectus published in February, McColl’s said Lancaster, who used to hold the dual role of chief executive and chairman, would retire “between 12 months and 24 months following admission” to the stock market.

But this week, Lancaster said he would become “fully focused” on the chief executive role. Non-executive director and deputy chairman John Coleman will take on the role of chairman.

“Whatever has been said before, I am no longer retiring,” Lancaster told The Grocer. “I will obviously at some point, but there is no date I am working to now.”

Lancaster added that he had chosen to relinquish the chairman role to make McColl’s compliant with the UK Corporate Governance Code, which states that the chairman and CEO roles should not be held by the same person.

“In the last six months, a number of key investors have been unable to invest in us because we were not compliant with the code,” Lancaster said. “I am also more comfortable with the non-executive directors we have appointed, who have performed superbly. So because I’m very comfortable with it, and because we were not able to sell our shares everywhere, it was a really easy decision to make.”

McColl’s also revealed this week that COO Martyn Aguss had left. He has been replaced by operations director Dave Thomas, who has worked at McColl’s since 1998, and prior to that at Iceland and Southern Co-op. Thomas holds a 1% stake in McColl’s.

Lancaster said Aguss, who holds a 2.7% stake, had left with immediate effect for personal reasons. “It was his choice entirely,” he said.