Kirk Davis, the current finance director at JD Wetherspoon, is to join rival Greene King from the start of next year as its new chief financial officer.

Davis, who joined JDW in 2008 as deputy finance director and has been its finance director since March 2011, replaces Matthew Fearn, who has had to step down as Greene King’s chief financial officer due to health reasons.

Davis also has extensive experience in the retail sector having previously worked in senior finance roles in Tesco and Marks & Spencer.

Fearn has been absent from work since February with a long-term illness. The companyu said that he is still undergoing medical treatment and is ”regrettably not likely to be in a position to return to work for some time”.

It said that an agreement has been reached with him that he should stand down as a director with immediate effect so that he and his family can focus on his health. 

Rooney Anand, Greene King chief executive, said: “We are very sorry to see Matthew step down, particularly in these very sad circumstances.   I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his huge contribution to Greene King over the past few years. The board, his colleagues and I wish him and his family the very best.

“At the same time, I am pleased to welcome Kirk to the company. He has extensive and relevant financial experience, both in consumer retail and more recently in the pub sector. The board and I want to welcome him to Greene King and look forward to working with him.”

Tim Martin, chairman of JDW, said: “I’d like to thank Kirk for his work over the last six years and I wish him well with his future career.  The Board of JD Wetherspoon has begun the process of identifying an appropriate successor.”