Launa Inman has announced her intention to step down as managing director of Target, one of Australia’s biggest retailers and part of the Wesfarmers Group.

Inman will remain in her current role until a replacement is in place, expected to be early 2012.

Inman said that after almost seven years in the position, and a transformation program to position Target for long-term success in place, she felt the time was right time to move on.

“I feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to lead Target and I am very proud of what the team and I have achieved together during my time as managing director,” she said.

“Over the past six months the team and I have been pressure testing our strategy and working on a number of projects to ensure Target’s long-term sustainable growth.

“I am very confident that with the quality of Target’s senior management team and the plans now in place, Target is set up for success.

Wesfarmers’ managing director Richard Goyder said Inman had done a wonderful job and has brought Target seamlessly into the Wesfarmers Group following the company’s takeover of the former Coles Group businesses in 2007.

“Her input at the group leadership table has always been incisive and insightful, contributing broadly, but particularly on the property and co-ordination front," he said.

“Launa is held in extremely high regard, not just in Wesfarmers, but in the wider Australian business community.”

Inman was appointed managing director of Target in 2005, with leadership of 25,000 employees and more than 285 Target and Target Country stores.

Wesfarmers will undertake a global search for a new managing director.