Icelandic giant aims to become biggest stores investor
Baugur intends to become the biggest investor in the stores sector within five years and has restructured in pursuit of that goal.

The investment firm owns retailers including Oasis, House of Fraser and Hamleys, and has stakes in Woolworths and French Connection, but it sees scope to ramp up its exposure to the sector.

Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson has become executive chairman and is succeeded as chief executive by Gunnar Sigurdsson, formerly managing director of Baugur's retail division. Chief financial officer Stefán Hilmarsson takes on the additional role of deputy chief executive and Jeff Blue has been named managing director of retail.

Jóhannesson, who will focus on the expansion of Baugur in new global markets, said: 'As executive chairman, I will have an opportunity to develop our vision and continue to drive growth.'

Sigurdsson said: 'Baugur has only started on its journey and, while we will maintain our focus on retail and our commitment to existing projects, we will also aim to expand into new markets and continue to identify investment opportunities.'

The other main changes of responsibility at Baugur are:

· Skarphédinn Berg Steinarsson, managing director for property and investments, becomes chief executive of new company Stodir Group, in which Baugur is the majority shareholder. Stodir will be the holding company for Baugur's biggest real estate assets;

· Eiríkur S Jóhannson has been made managing director of property;

· Pórdis Sigurdardóttir becomes managing director of media and new ventures;

· Sara Lind has been appointed managing director of corporate communications.