Former Peter Jones supremo drafted in as MD
Iconic London department store Fortnum & Mason has poached former Peter Jones supremo Beverley Aspinall as its managing director. Aspinall steered the£107 million redevelopment of the John Lewis Partnership-owned Chelsea store. At Fortnum, she will replace Stuart Gates, who left in June.

The respected retailer rose through the JLP ranks, having joined from university in 1981. She had been seeking a new challenge since the ambitious Peter Jones refurbishment was completed this year. Aspinall described the new post as her dream retail job and is looking forward to getting her feet under the desk. 'There is no sense in going in there with preconceived ideas,' she said. 'For the first few months I will be concentrating on getting to know the people and understanding the business. There is a strategy already in place and that will continue.'

The Piccadilly store, which celebrates its 300th anniversary in 2007, is part of the Weston family's retail empire. This year, it embarked on a food hall venture with Japanese department store operator Mitsukoshi. Fortnum & Mason chairman Jana Khayat said she was impressed by Aspinall's retail pedigree. She said: 'Beverley's experience and appreciation of our longer-term commitment to retailing was something that shone through.'

Aspinall joins Fortnum & Mason on February 14.