Martin Taylor to chair WH Smith

 

Martin Taylor, the intellectual former journalist who resigned as chief executive of Barclays last year, has taken up his first major British corporate appointment since leaving the bank.

He is to be chairman of WH Smith, a 1 1/2-day-a-week job that will pay him about £150,000 a year. The retailer's shares responded with a rise of 15p to 615p.

Taylor, 47, will take up the post in November, succeeding Jeremy Hardy, 61, who has been in the chair for nearly five years. WH Smith has been looking for a new chairman since before the summer, as it has a tradition of retiring its

chairmen at the age of 58. Hardie has also attracted investor criticism in the past.

Taylor was on the Smith's board as a non-executive from 1993 to 1998 and endorsed the appointment of insider Richard Handover as chief executive following the departure of Bill Cockburn. 'WH Smith has made tremendous progress in the last two years, and I am looking forward to working with Richard and his very focused team,' he said.

Taylor is joining US investment bank Goldman Sachs as a part-time strategic adviser and works part-time for the Government, trying to stem tax losses from cigarette and alcohol smuggling.