David Jones CEO Paul Zahra has stepped down less than a month after South African retail group Woolworths Holdings was given the go-ahead to acquire the Australian department store operator.

Zahra, who initially stepped down last October but then decided to remain in the role, will be replaced by Country Road boss Ian Nairn with immediate effect.

Last month, the Federal Court of Australia approved Woolworths' AUD2.2bn (US$2.1bn) takeover of David Jones - the final approval needed for the deal to go ahead.

Shareholders of both companies had already agreed to the takeover.

Meanwhile, Country Road has appointed Matthew Keogh as its new CEO. With 25 years' experience in specialty retail and hospitality, he most recently served as managing director of Woolworths Holdings' Witchery brand.

Woolworths owns over 99% of Country Road and is also in the process of acquiring the remaining stake.