Preppy fashion specialist Jack Wills is to strengthen its management with a top-level appointment to help steer growth.

Jack Wills, which sells classic British looks to the “university crowd”, has been expanding rapidly - including overseas - under founder Peter Williams since private equity firm Inflexion took a minority stake in 2007.

Sources said a senior hiring would play a key role in keeping up momentum and would effectively be a chief executive-designate who would eventually assume some of Williams’ responsibilities.

There is no suggestion that Williams would take a back seat, but he would have the chance to focus on particular aspects of the business.

A source close to Jack Wills rejected the view that the appointment was part of a management succession plan.

Williams founded Jack Wills, named after his grandfather, in 1999. It has 31 UK shops and last year began opening shops in the US, where it already had a catalogue and online business. It also runs seven Aubin & Wills stores in the UK targeting an older customer.

Jack Wills bolstered its board in 2009 with the appointment of former Burberry chief Rose Marie Bravo as a non-executive director.