Belinda Earl turns into a Jaeger girl

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The Independent Online

Belinda Earl, the former boss of Debenhams, yesterday joined Jaeger, the upmarket fashion group that is considering floating, as chief executive.

Belinda Earl, the former boss of Debenhams, yesterday joined Jaeger, the upmarket fashion group that is considering floating, as chief executive.

A stock market listing would enable Ms Earl to add to the multimillion-pound fortune she amassed as chief executive of the department store group. Although she declined to comment on the details of her salary, she admitted she had invested some of her own money in the business.

"I am acquiring an equity stake and am very motivated by my package," she added.

The appointment brings Ms Earl's five months of gardening leave to an end. She left Debenhams with a £3.6m pay-off after it was acquired for £1.7bn by a private equity consortium.

Ms Earl said a stock market flotation was an option for Jaeger. "Over the next few months we will review the strengths of the business and look at market conditions," she said, promising an update on her progress this autumn.

Harold Tillman, who bought Jaeger last year for an undisclosed sum from the retail entrepreneur Richard Thompson, has said he would like to float the company. Jaeger was sold to Mr Thompson by Coats, which bought the business from the founding Tomalin family in 1967.

Ms Earl, who was approached by a number of retailers including Marks & Spencer, is hoping to build on Jaeger's nascent revival. Mr Tillman said the group, which made a £12m loss during its final year in the Coats stable, had "returned to the black".

Jaeger is planning a homeware range and to expand its choice of accessories, which currently comprise "a couple of shoes", Ms Earl said. The company, which trades from 146 locations, opened its first menswear store earlier this year.

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