Nisa is confident the symbol group will not lose momentum when long-serving chief executive Neil Turton leaves in spring 2015.

Chairman Christopher Baker told The Grocer Nisa’s new strategy to become a retail-focused operation, which has been implemented over the past year, would not change on Turton’s departure. The strategy has seen Nisa recently report strong own-label sales as well as record satisfaction, delivery and availability levels.

“The risk of losing momentum is clearly there, but we are working hard to ensure we do not do that,” he said. “We have got a good deal of time to recruit Neil’s successor, and we have a very strong team and board of directors.

“I have lived through many CEO changes and if the company has a sound strategy and management team, as Nisa has, the company weathers the storm,” he added.

Baker said the search was already underway to find Turton’s replacement. Both external and internal candidates would be considered, and he envisioned the person appointed would “be a retailer working at a senior level with a strong track record.”

However, he also revealed Nisa was not “at this stage” looking for a chief operating officer to replace Amanda Jones, who last week revealed she was joining Conviviality Retail as COO.

“It would be wrong to saddle the new CEO with a new COO when they may decide to look at an alternative management structure,” Baker said.

“We looked at the strength of the team under Amanda [business unit director for symbols Nigel Gray; business unit director for indies and specialists Steve Leach; and format and development director Raj Krishan] and we have very capable people.”

He also said Elaine Robinson, who was appointed interim trading director in April following the departure of John Sharpe, had agreed to stay on until the end of March 2015.

Last week, The Grocer revealed Turton would join Him! International in spring next year.