UK supermarket chain Wm Morrison has appointed Bob Stott as chief executive, along with a string of other board changes, it said today (Wednesday).

Marie Melnyk will continue in her role as managing director with responsibility for the company’s trading and marketing.

Martin Ackroyd has decided to step down from the board as finance director and accordingly will not be seeking re-election at the next annual general meeting in May 2005.  He has agreed to continue to oversee the finance function until his successor joins the company.

David Jones will become non executive deputy chairman and as the senior non executive director and will initially chair the nominations, remuneration and audit committees.  In these roles he will be responsible with the board for ensuring that good corporate governance is practiced within the company. He will also work with the chairman and chief executive to ensure that succession plans are in place for all board positions and that additional non executive directors are appointed.

Duncan Davidson, a non executive director, has found it difficult to devote the increasing time that is required to consider the important issues faced by the board and he, therefore, stands down from the board with immediate effect.

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“The appointment of Bob Stott and Marie Melnyk to their new roles and the appointment of David Jones as deputy chairman are significant steps in the development of Morrisons,” said chairman Sir Kenneth Morrison.

“Together with my continuing commitment and the addition of a new finance director and suitable non executive directors, I believe that we will have the right team to deliver the full benefits from the Safeway acquisition to shareholders and customer alike,” he said. “I would also like to thank Martin for the significant contribution that he has made to the company over the past 31 years. His hard work, loyalty and commitment have been outstanding and I respect his decision to seek a less public life.”