M&S appoints Smith as director for Far East

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MARKS and Spencer yesterday underlined its commitment to expansion in the Far East with the appointment of a director for operations in the region, writes Heather Connon.

Paul Smith moves from New York, where he is head of US and Canadian operations, to Hong Kong, where he will also lead a team doing an in-depth study of the retail market in China and Japan. Among the subjects to be considered is the possibility of franchises or joint ventures in the area.

The group has six stores in Hong Kong and also has Japanese outlets for Brooks Brothers - the US clothing chain it owns. But Sir Richard Greenbury, chairman of Marks and Spencer, said when the company announced its year-end results that he saw the Far East as a key development area for the group's business.

Mr Smith has been with the group since 1965, and was responsible for the Far East between 1990 and 1991, when he was appointed a director.

He will be replaced in New York by Chris Littmoden, who is currently director of financial control. Robert Colvill becomes finance director, taking on Mr Littmoden's job in addition to his responsibilities for Marks and Spencer Financial Services and treasury.

All will report to Keith Oates, who remains one of the joint managing directors with responsibility for finance.