John Jackson is chosen to fill Sketchley post

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SKETCHLEY, the quoted dry cleaner, has named John Jackson, who recently helped to draw up Richard Branson's unsuccessful bid for the national lottery, as chief executive.

Mr Jackson, also a former managing director of Body Shop, the cosmetics group, takes up his new appointment next month. The move follows the turnaround of Sketchley since 1990 by the company doctors Tony Bloom and John Richardson, who came in as the group was haemorrhaging pounds 800,000 a month.

Mr Jackson, who has held senior positions in the health care, retail and leisure industries over the past 20 years, said he was delighted to be approached two months ago for the newly created post.

Sketchley had a very strong brand name, he said, and he hoped to use his marketing expertise 'to build on very strong foundations'.

David Davies, chairman of Sketchley, said: 'Mr Jackson has held a number of challenging and highly responsible positions within a broad range of respected organisations in the retail and service industries.'

Mr Jackson has most recently been a consultant to Virgin on brand development and in the mid-1980s helped Mr Branson launch his Mates brand of contraceptives. In 1988 Mr Jackson joined Body Shop as managing director and helped to restructure the retail, wholesale and manufacturing divisions. While he was there Body Shop's sales increased from pounds 90m to pounds 400m and its outlets tripled to 900.

Earlier in his career Mr Jackson, 47, was managing director of the pharmaceuticals arm of Bristol- Myers and of Chesebrough- Pond's, the branded skin-care manufacturer.

Mr Bloom is to remain deputy chairman of Sketchley. Mr Richardson, who was joint deputy chairman, has already left.

In its latest trading year the company lifted profits from pounds 3.11m to pounds 5.06m despite the dry cleaning business having another difficult year.

One of the company doctors' main strategic moves was the acquisition of the Supasnaps photo- processing chain from Dixons.