David Jones (DJS) director Leigh Clapham has resigned from the board, effective immediately, and the department store has also reappointed a strategic adviser to review a possible merger with rival Myer.
David Jones has engaged management consulting firm Port Jackson Partners to assess the value of synergies that could be extracted if the two groups merged.
The department store's chairman, Gordon Cairns, said it was "imperative" to undertake the review before commencing discussions with the group's rival.
"Once this work is completed we will be in a position to engage in a meaningful way with Myer," Mr Cairns said.
The consultants will also asses the value for shareholders of David Jones continuing to implement its strategic plan on a standalone basis.
As the Myer proposal is premised on a share swap, David Jones said if discussions between the parties progress, an assessment of Myer's business will be undertaken as part of a due diligence exercise requiring Myer's co-operation.
David Jones is searching for two new non-executive directors to join the board as part of a board renewal process announced last month.
Mr Clapham said in a statement that it was "clearly the right time" to step down.
The resignation follows chief executive officer Paul Zahra's decision this month to continue in his current role, after he earlier announced his intention to quit, as well as the appointment of Gordon Cairns as chairman, replacing Peter Mason.