Woolworths has appointed Steve Johnson, the chief executive of Focus DIY, to head the company.
The retailer has been looking for a new chief executive since Trevor Bish-Jones left Woolworths in June.
The consumer downturn has hit Woolworths hard and sales have slumped at the retailer. The board has therefore been searching for someone who can execute a turnaround plan.
Woolworths chairman Richard North said: "With his strong background in both retail and consultancy, together with his particular experience in achieving a turnaround at Focus, he brings the strategic and operational skills that the group needs to help it move to the next stage of its development."
Mr Johnson was chief executive at Focus for four years, where he oversaw a strategy to grow sales and reduce costs.
Mr Johnson said: "Along with the rest of the Woolworths team, I will be focused on value creation for all stakeholders as we seek to move the group forward."
Profits at Woolworths fell to £11.7 million in the 52 weeks to February 2nd and the retailer has sold some of its stores to Waitrose to cut costs.
Woolworths also recently announced a joint venture with grocer Somerfield, which will see the two retailers sell each other's products.
Shares in Woolworths fell 5.71 per cent in mid-morning trading on the London Stock Exchange.