Peter Hogsted, the head of marketing for IKEA's Danish operation, will join the company's UK arm next month. Hogsted will replace Goran Nilsson, who is on sabbatical after a serious illness. Anders Danielson, UK marketing manager, will report to him.
Hogsted's arrival comes as IKEA plans to expand its UK base beyond its portfolio of 11 stores; the company aims to open a further 20 over the next few years.
The expansion strategy, which IKEA this week said would include the opening of its first south coast store, in Southampton, will reduce shoppers' travelling times. The company also claims it will lower prices.
Hogsted will oversee the introduction next year of loyalty scheme IKEA Family. It will offer members special deals on products and target them with regular communications. Its UK debut is expected next June. It already operates the scheme in other markets.
The launch is likely to be backed by a marketing campaign, with ads created in-house. IKEA split with St Luke's in November 2001.
IKEA's UK operation accounts for about 13%of the company's global sales, making it the second-most important market behind Germany. Other key territories for the company include the US, France and Sweden.
The retailer operates 154 stores across 22 countries and claimed that 286 million people visited its shops around the world in 2001.