Gerald Corbett, chairman of British retail giant Woolworths Group, is to abdicate after six years in the role.

With effect from the company's annual general meeting on June 6, Corbett will hand over the reins to Richard North. North has served as CEO of Intercontinental Hotels Group, and as group finance director of brewing group Bass plc and clothes retailer The Burton Group plc.

In a statement issued today, North praised Corbett for his "great job" in overseeing Woolworths' demerger from parent group Kingfisher in August 2001, and its flotation on the London Stock Exchange.

In 2005, Woolworths' 819 stores accounted for 28.5% of British consumer spending on singles and 11.2% of albums, according to the BPI-sanctioned TNS Audio Visual Trak Survey.