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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 May, 2003, 06:05 GMT 07:05 UK
Boots names new chief executive
Richard Baker
Richard Baker: the new man at the top

The health and beauty retailer Boots has appointed Asda chief operating officer Richard Baker as its new chief executive.

The High Street chain is seeking to revive its fortunes after an unsuccessful foray into alternative therapies and beauty-only stores.

Last month Boots said it was abandoning these initiatives at the cost of 700 jobs in order to focus on its core business.

Mr Baker will take up his position on 15 September, while Boots' current chief executive Steve Russell will leave the board at the end of May.

The board reshuffle will also see deputy chairman Nigel Rudd become chairman in September.

All change

Boots, which is based in Nottingham, has been facing fierce competition from supermarkets and has tried a number of initiatives to try and win more business.

But new services such as botox injections, osteopathy and weight management failed to attract sufficient customers.

The firm announced last December that it was seeking a new chief executive to replace Mr Russell, who will step down at the end of May.

Boots' current chairman John McGrath will become acting chief executive until 15 September when Richard Baker and Nigel Rudd takeover.

"Richard has an outstanding track record in both retail and marketing and I am very pleased to welcome him to Boots," Mr McGrath said.

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