John Thornton, the last remaining family member of specialist chocolate retailer Thorntons, is retiring from the board of directors in September.

Thorntons said yesterday that Thornton, who has worked at the company since 1966 and held the roles of managing director, chairman and chief executive officer, would retire as a non-executive director on 1 September.

John von Spreckelsen, chairman of Thorntons, said: “I am very sorry to be losing John Thornton after many years' invaluable service to the company.”