Terry Duddy took the helm of Argos in 1998 after mail order retailer Gus, Home Retail’s predecessor, bought the catalogue chain for £1.9 billion.
He was named chief executive of Home Retail in 2006 following its demerger from Gus and the acquisition of Homebase. The group said today that Duddy had informed the board of his intention to quit the top post by the next annual shareholder meeting on 2 July.
In recent years, Duddy has seen the Argos business squeezed by the economic downturn and competition from online retailers such as Amazon.
Last year, he set out plans to grow sales from £3.9bn to £4.5bn a year in 2018 in a digital push involving the closure or relocation of some stores and a cut in the print circulation of the famous catalogue.
Duddy, 57, earned some £1.56 million in pay and perks in the year to the start of March, up from £1.1m a year earlier, even though the retailer suffered another decline in profits.
The search for his successor will be led by the group’s chairman John Coombe, who said Duddy had provided strong leadership during a period of economic uncertainty. The recruitment process will include both internal and external candidates.
A spokesman said Duddy’s planned exit was entirely his decision and added that the 2 July date related to his nine months notice period. He said if a successor was chosen sooner, Duddy would depart earlier.
Retail analyst Nick Bubb suggested that Argos managing director John Walden was a front-runner for the post.