New-look GUS gets finance director

Great Universal Stores appointed its first finance director in a decade yesterday as new chairman Lord Wolfson continued his shake- up of the mail order group.

The new man is David Tyler, 44, who joins from Christie's International. Mr Tyler had been finance director at the auction house since 1989 after spells with Unilever and County NatWest.

GUS's last finance director, Trevor Spittle, left in 1987. Since then the pounds 6.8bn company, which also owns Burberry and Scotch House, has had no designated finance director on its 12-strong board. It is almost certainly the only FTSE 100 company that has felt it could do without such a function.

It is understood that prior to his move to the honorary presidency last year, the former chairman, Lord Wolfson of Marylebone, used to fulfil the finance function.

But with GUS becoming more active in the corporate arena following last year's pounds 1bn acquisition of Experian, the US data company, a more traditional board structure has become more appropriate.

"The company didn't have a finance director but Lord Wolfson decided it was time they had one," GUS said yesterday.

There were two other boardroom appointments at GUS yesterday. Also of key significance is David Bury, 54, who becomes commercial director and treasurer after joining GUS in April. He will have a roving brief at executive level with responsibility for strategy. It is also likely that he will play a key role in acquisitions. Louise Patten, 43, a former partner at Bain & Co, the strategy consultants, joins as a non-executive director.

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