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By
Reuters
Published
Jan 2, 2009
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JJB Sports names new chairman, strategy head

By
Reuters
Published
Jan 2, 2009

* Promotes deputy chairman David Jones to executive chairman

* Recruits Peter Williams to oversee strategic development

* Chairman Lane-Smith moves to deputy chairman

(Adds detail, background, shares)

LONDON, Jan 2 (Reuters) - Struggling UK retailer JJB Sports (JJB.L) announced a management reshuffle, promoting retail veteran David Jones to executive chairman and recruiting a former head of department store Selfridges to oversee strategy.


www.jjbsports.com

The sporting goods chain, which last month struck a temporary deal with its lenders, said on Friday that Jones, a former chief executive of fashion chain Next (NXT.L), would move from deputy chairman to replace Roger Lane-Smith as chairman.

Lane-Smith will become non-executive deputy chairman.

It also said Peter Williams, a former chief executive of Selfridges, would join on Jan. 5 as an executive director responsible for strategic development.

Chris Ronnie will continue as chief executive.

"We are facing the most difficult retail environment I have ever experienced but I am looking forward to working with both Chris and Peter and the rest of the executive team to re-establish JJB as a major force in the sportswear market," Jones said in a statement.

At 1305 GMT, JJB shares were up 16.1 percent at 4.75 pence, valuing the firm at about 11.9 million pounds ($17.3 million).

The stock has plunged 98 percent over the past 20 months due to a steep downturn in consumer spending, exacerbated by worries about JJB's debts.

JJB said in December that it was in talks over the possible sale of its 50 fitness clubs after receiving several enquiries, including one from founder and former chairman David Whelan.

Sports Direct (SPD.L), controlled by billionaire Mike Ashley, has a 22 percent interest in JJB, while another rival, JD Sports Fashion (JD.L), owns 10 percent. ($1=.6864 pounds) (Reporting by Mark Potter; Editing by Mike Nesbit)

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