NEW YORK -- Peter Vial, executive director of finance and operations of Country Road International Ltd., has been named president of the company's U.S. retail operation, succeeding Peter Whitford, who left the company a week ago.

Vial will relocate next week to North Bergen, N.J., where the American arm -- which operates the Country Road Australia chain -- is based. He will report to Mike Howell, chief executive officer, who joined the company about two months ago. Whitford had been president and ceo of the U.S. division.

Vial is part of the original management team, with Stephen Bennett, founder and president of the Melbourne, Australia-based chain, and Jane Parker, Bennett's sister, who heads product development.

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