Former Thomas Cook chief executive Harriet Green has rejected an approach by the new owners of BHS to become chairman of the troubled retailer.

Green, who stepped down from the travel group last year, had held initial discussions with Retail Acquisitions, a vehicle established to acquire high street assets, about becoming chairman of BHS.

A spokesman for Green confirmed to Sky News that she had been approached about the role but said she had decided not to accept it.

BHS, which trades from 171 stores, has struggled in recent years, making a string of substantial losses amid intense price competition from rivals.

The chain is being offloaded by Sir Philip Green, who controls brands such as TopShop and Dorothy Perkins.

He said was “confident that Retail Acquisitions have a platform to grow the business and return it to profitability”.

Retail Acquisitions is backing the existing BHS management team, a statement added.

Chairman of business Keith Smith said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to breathe new life into this iconic British high street brand.

“We are convinced that with strategic and focussed support we will return BHS to profitability, and safeguard the workforce.

“By backing the existing management and investing in their plan, we are confident that we can build upon many of the initiatives already in place,”

He added that a new chairman for BHS “with significant retail experience and further retail turnaround experts [will be appointed] in due course”.