The brothers behind one of Cumbria's best known businesses are to retire from its operating board of directors.

Sam, Martin and Julian Rayner will retire from the board of Lakeland, in Windermere, with effect from September, although they will retain ownership of the company.

The brothers’ retirement from the operating board is part of a planned succession, which will see Lakeland’s current chief executive Catherine Nunn take up the role of deputy chair.

She will be replaced as chief executive by Steve Knights, currently Lakeland’s Commercial Director, who will be supported at board level by Paul Lewis (chief financial and operating officer), Scott Jefferson (chief commercial officer) and Neil Piggot (chief customer officer).

Operations director Gary Marshall will leave the company at the end of August after 16 years.

Lakeland’s non-executive director, Philip Johnson, will continue his role supporting the Rayner family and the new operating board.

The company said having a smaller board will allow Lakeland to be more agile and focus on the most important areas of strategy and operational delivery.

It said the coming weeks and months will see further changes to structures and positions throughout the company.

Sam Rayner said: "In my 46 years at the helm of Lakeland, I have never been so grateful to our colleagues who, responding to the recent unprecedented events, transformed and changed our company in just a few days to meet the challenges we all faced.

"Our colleagues adapted, changed and moved mountains and we will be forever grateful.

"We believe that Lakeland’s overall strategy remains even more relevant now than ever before and will provide clear focus and direction for the years to come.

"We have also learned over the past five months that certain elements of the strategy will now need to be delivered much more rapidly than was originally envisaged, and this includes the review of our structure, along with accelerating our plans for the future running of the business.

"I’m delighted that we have been able to appoint our talented chief executive, Catherine, to the role of deputy chairman, who alongside Steve and their team will lead Lakeland into a new era.’