Bruno Sälzer, the chief executive of German fashion firm Escada, is to step down from his post at the end of the year.

Sälzer has been CEO of the international luxury womenswear brand since 2008, but said he was leaving "to pursue new professional challenges". The firm said it has begun a search to find a new chief executive.

"I would like to express my sincere thanks to Bruno for his leadership over the past six years," said chairman Megha Mittal. "He has steered Escada successfully during this period and I wish him continued success in the future. I continue to be excited about the potential at Escada."

During his six-year tenure, Escada has strengthened its operations, rolling out 90 retail stores in its new shop concept and expanding its presence in Asia. It also extended its product line to include watches, jewellery and home textiles through new licensing arrangements. In 2013, the company also launched its e-store.