His responsibilities as retail director will pass to Matthew Ingle, currently head of MFI's Howden Joinery division. Mr Ingle is also being promoted to the main board where he will be responsible for MFI retail and Howden. Last month MFI said Mr Ingle's promotion to head of MFI retail would not be a main board appointment.
Mr O'Connell, 51, will remain on the board for the time being as deputy chairman. However it is expected that he will soon take early retirement. He has been with MFI since 1972 and is likely to be eligible for compensation. He was paid a salary of pounds 190,000 last year and is on a 12-month contract.
MFI shares have been under pressure since a profits warning in February. Yesterday they closed 0.5p higher at 86p.