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Appointment announcements can be faxed to Martin Coyle on (0171) 316 9250 or e-mailed to [email protected]

Laura Ashley has announced a successor to Jim Walsh, the American FD who leaves in March with a #300,000 handshake after the departure of high-profile chief executive Ann Iverson. The new man is Richard Pennycook, the 33-year-old FD at pub chain JD Wetherspoon. He will receive a salary of #160,000 but no bonus in his first year because of recent criticism of senior directors’ remuneration levels at the troubled fashion retailer.

However, it is thought that he will have a share option package. Pennycook has previously worked at Allders as group financial controller and at Allders International as European finance director. Wetherspoon has found a replacement for Pennycook in Jim Clarke who switches from sports to pubs, moving from the FD spot at the David Lloyd sport centre chain.

James Newman has joined Yorkshire Water as group FD. He replaces Brian Wilson who announced his retirement in September. Newman is the former FD of Bridon.

John Biles has joined FKI, the engineering company as finance director. He replaces Eric Bowers who is leaving the company to pursue other interests. Biles previously worked for Chubb Security where he was FD between 1991 and 1997. He has also worked at Racal where he held a number of financial roles. The acquisition of Chubb by Williams Holdings last year led to his departure.

Felix and Winalot pet food manufacturers Dalgety have named Andrew Allner as finance director. Allner joins from Nycomed Amersham where he was FD. He succeeds Ken Hanna who is now chief executive at the company, a position he has held since September. Allner has been given an 18-month contract at the company and will be paid #200,000. He will have the opportunity to earn a further #100,000 if he reaches certain profit targets. He will also be given share options.

Abbey National has announced the appointment of its youngest-ever finance director, Mark Pain. Aged 36, he slots into the position created by the promotion of current FD Ian Harley, who moves up to become chief executive, replacing Peter Birch. Pain is currently group financial controller for the banking group, and moves into a role which earned the upwardly mobile Harley a basic salary of #219,533 in 1997. Pain will take up his new position on 1 March. He joined Abbey National in 1989 having previously worked for TSB and Touche Ross. His role will be filled by Jim Smart who is presently director of personnel at Abbey.

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