McGrath appointed to top job at Pentos

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PENTOS, the bookseller, yesterday named a chairman and a chief executive to replace Terry Maher, the group's creator, amid concern about its poor performance and aggressive expansion, writes Heather Connon.

The new chief executive will be Bill McGrath, present deputy chairman of Wickes, the do-it-yourself chain. In 1985 he founded Builders Mate, which was acquired by Wickes two years later, and subsequently ran the latter's timber operation. Before that he worked with Asda and Comet.

The chairman will be Sir Kit McMahon, former chairman of Midland Bank. He stepped up to deputy chairman when Mr Maher's departure was announced. It is believed his appointment will be only temporary.

Mr McGrath will join on 1 January. Commenting on the appointment, Sir Kit said: 'His proven management and retailing skills make him the ideal candidate to build upon the underlying strengths of Pentos's core businesses.' Pentos's shares rose 1p to 44p.

Meanwhile, the Littlewoods Organisation, the retail and mail order chain controlled by the Moores family, has appointed Bob Willett as managing director of its chain stores. Mr Willett left Isosceles, owner of the Gateway supermarket chain, a year ago but has also worked at Ward White, Woolworths and Debenhams.

He replaces Bryan Mayoh, who has been acting head for about a year but will now take charge of Index, the company's high street catalogue business.