Exclusive: Williams Takes The Helm At JJB

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A former director of lingerie chain La Senza is to swap one troubled retailer for another by taking the helm of JJB Sports as it fights a renewed battle to secure its future.

I have learned that Beverley Williams, who left La Senza at the turn of the year, is to be parachuted into JJB (LSE: JJB.L - news) as its interim chief executive.

She (SNP: ^SHEY - news) is expected to join the sportswear chain within weeks.

Her appointment, which could be announced as early as today, comes four days after Sky News revealed that Keith Jones, JJB's chief executive, was quitting after a torrid period in charge during which the company has had to seek rescue funding on three occasions.

On Friday, JJB confirmed the move, saying: "He [Mr Jones] will step down from the Board with immediate effect but will stay with the business in an advisory capacity until the end of August to ensure an orderly handover of his responsibilities.

"The Board is currently in advanced discussions to appoint an interim CEO. A further announcement will be made in due course.

"As previously announced on July 9, Robert J Corliss has joined the business and is already providing the Board and Company with valuable advice and insight in sports retailing. He will take over formally as chairman on September 1."

Bob Corliss said: 'On behalf of all the Board I would like to thank Keith for his tireless efforts to rescue JJB and return it to commercial health. During his time at JJB, Keith helped to secure vital additional funding for the business and significantly strengthened relations with our major supplier partners.'"

:: JJB declined to comment on Ms Williams' appointment, however it later confirmed her new role.