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Jane Norman hunts for MD

Jane Norman chief executive Saj Shah is scouting for a managing director who would take the reins from him when he retires.

Shah, who by his own admission lives and breathes the Jane Norman brand, has kicked off a succession strategy ahead of his retirement, which is likely to come in the next five years.

Shah, who joined Jane Norman in 1976, is understood to have put feelers out for potential candidates, but he said internal selection would be the first port of call. He said: “I need to look inside Jane Norman first. But there are lots of people out there, due to the conditions on the high street. Whoever we take, they must understand Jane Norman and why it is such a success, and must not want to make it like all the other chains.”

Shah said he hoped to have a new managing director installed by the end of the year.

Jane Norman experienced tough festive trading, but this did not overshadow an excellent performance earlier in the year.

The Baugur-owned business more than doubled operating profit to £21.5 million for the year to March 31, although this was against an eight-month period in 2006 following Baugur’s acquisition of the chain. Sales grew to £132.6m, up 89% on the previous year.

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