Quoted Builders’ merchant Travis Perkins has appointed Geoff Cooper chief executive.

Cooper, 50, who was deputy chief executive of chemist chain Alliance Unichem, will take up the role in February. Alliance Unichem is a FTSE 100 company with £9bn turnover and 22,000 staff.

Cooper will take over the helm from Frank McKay, who will retire as planned.

McKay joined the company in 1999, and was promoted to chief executive the following year. During his five years in the role, turnover more than doubled to £1.8bn after an ambitious acquisition programme and organic growth.

Travis Perkins has a market capitalisation of £1.8bn, and is thought to be among those bidding for part or all of Focus Wickes, the DIY retailer. Rival bidders include builders’ merchants Saint-Gobain and Wolseley, and private equity vehicles. The Focus Wicks business is thought to be worth about £1.5bn.